Murshid Samuel L. Lewis
(Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti)
Murshid Samuel L. Lewis wrote the poem “Siva! Siva!” in 1942, and went back to it the last year of his life, 1970, to make a few minor editing changes.
The poem is a true tour-de-force encompassing as it does exposition of all the major yoga systems, sacred art forms, an inner account of the life and spiritual states of Siva, a vision of the eternal dharma of India and the problems needing to be solved for its fulfillment, and the culminating interpretation and apotheosis of all these in the poem’s concluding section—“The Dance of Shiva.”
This final section surely constitutes one of the high-points of Murshid’s talents as an epic poet. As he says in the poem: “So meditation, concentration and Yoga are conjoined into art, and beauty and skillfulness, that the divine in man approach the divine in the Universe until one is merged in the other …” This is realized in Shiva’s dance “when man portrays God.”
But in another sense this describes the secret and intention of Murshid Samuel L. Lewis’ inspired poetry. For as a poet, Murshid also dares to portray God, as it were, dares to speak-write-sing in the consciousness of the Messenger of God, or Avatar, that he is ostensibly writing about. This attribute of attunement with and effacement in numerous illuminated souls, integrating it with his own realization and overview of history, is probably the striking feature of Murshid’s poetry. According to his spiritual reports, the gift of mystical poetry was given to him in a visitation by the mysterious Khwaja Khizr in the course of a Khilvat-retreat at Fairfax in 1925. These events were all written up by him and a full report made to his spiritual teacher Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan who encouraged him in this work. The full account of these events will be published in another issue of Bismillah.
We hear this Voice of the Prophets singing in a number of Murshid’s poems. The trilogy of poems, “The Day of the Lord Cometh,” “What Christ? What Peace?” and “Saladin” speaks in the voice of the Hebrew Prophets, Christ, and Mohammed. These have been published in the volume entitled “The Jerusalem Trilogy” Prophecy Press (1975). “Siva! Siva!,” “The Purna Vedanta Yoga Gita” and “The Rejected Avatar” chronicle the insights of the Avatars of India. The latter work was published in a small volume (Prophecy Press) and tells part of the story of Sri Krishna with parallels to Murshid’s own life. “Siva! Siva!” is here published for the first time. “The Puma Vedanta Yoga Gita” is as yet unpublished. Also unpublished is the epic poem “Rassoul Gita” which Murshid intended to re-edit after completing work on “Siva! Siva!” He considered this poem to be perhaps his grandest effort.
“Crescent and Heart” speaks in the voice of Khwaja Moineddin Chishti who brought the real Sufism to India and from our own order proceeds by direct linkage. In “Crescent and Heart” we also feel the overtones and similarities between’s Murshid’s work in the west and Moineddin Chishti’s historical mission in India.
The categorization and exposition of Murshid’s complete poetic efforts will have to wait until another time. Suffice it to say that there are numerous other poems including Buddhist poetry and poetry prophetic of the New Age.
It is our intention through Bismillah especially, and through other possible outlets, to make all of this poetry available to the general reader in the course of time. We welcome your response to the offerings in this special issue.
-Masheikh Wali Ali Meyer
San Francisco April 1980
Aum! …… the dawn ……
Aum! …… the conch ……
Arise, mist from the mighty mountains,
The long awaited day approaches,
Clouds have been relieved of their cares;
Rosepink crests glitter in the ascending light,
Purple giant guardian crags stand forth,
For day is advancing over the abode of Shiva—
After the most dismal night that the world has ever seen
The majesty of another bright era sets the stage.
See the noble deodars add to their foliage,
The multicolored rhododendrons paint the slopes
While primulas and poppies dance on the ground.
The song birds are awaking,
Hills again declare the glory of their Creator,
Valleys echo the handiwork of the cosmos.
Once the Lord Siva was a man, a man who dared to be God,
Whose attainment of immortality brought universal blessing;
But when the cataclysm of destruction held the reins,
When the sway of tamas had fully extended itself,
Dharma was covered by darkness and by savagery,
Though hidden between the heavens still maintained the light,
And rays of the beneficent unseen
Poured over the mountains, over the mists,
And now reveal themselves over curtains of maya.
Look! A new dawn and a new awakening,
Heralding the approaching cycle of wonder—
But stop! Listen to the god; let him speak
Who is far superior to ordinary man,
Who is vastly greater than the pitris, gandharvas, devas,
Who has merged himself into the infinite Ishwara,
Who is supreme over all beings,
Who is the very Lord of the manifest universe.
It was long ago; it was so long ago……
The calendar had not yet been invented,
Nor that noble language whose literature is filled with wisdom,
But wisdom itself was there, for wisdom is undying,
Had even then been long in noble Bharata-land,
Even before the written word and memorized traditions.
Long before history was the Blessed Land civilized;
True, it was a different culture for it held a different people—
The ancestors of the Mons and Khmers who later were scattered in the East,
Whence few have studied,
Whither few have investigated,
But even then they were there,
Drinking from the eternal fountains of divinity.
From most ancient periods has that land contained seeds,
In innocence—eras linked heaven to earth,
The unmanifest with the manifest.
Then the folds of materialism covered bodies slightly,
And the inner man had greater control in daily life,
For the sense of people were different:
Eyes were not yet employed in concentrated studies,
Powers of observation were very keen,
The optic nerves were tuned to different sensitivities,
Sensitive to rays opaque to us today.
Knowledge was obtained in other ways,
And much has been forgotten that is still to be learned.
Who knows the source-land of these people?
Whether their ancestors had been refugees and wanderers
From the forgotten Lemuria or the fabled Mu,
And they brought with them unusual faculties,
A consciousness that penetrated to other planes;
Needing heavy foods to maintain a strong physique,
Lest they fade away in early life,
In many ways they were like children,
Happy, without care, unsophisticated,
But wherewithal cruel in war,
Eating the hearts of their enemies,
Presuming thereby to assimilate powers,
And being closer to nature, held kinship with animals and plants,
Instinctively feeling the universal life.
But already they had developed their arts,
And above all, dances in which they excelled—
The war-dance, the harvest-pageant,
The festivals of seasons and of trades,
And the free dance growing from spontaneous moods.
It was long ago, it was very long ago,
But even then the mighty Ganga had been recognized,
Whose waters brought blessing, whose waters brought life,
Whose waters were healing and invigorating,
Whose waters arose in the very land of the gods,
Carrying psychical and metapsychical vibrations,
Life-energies which could easily be absorbed.
Tribal organizations then held away,
And there were clans and groups accordingly,
Each with its functions as in a totem-society,
Though it was not exactly a totem-world,
For freedom and happiness abounded,
And the restraint of custom was very, very slight.
There I grew, a boy among a crowd of boys,
Becoming skilled in archery and the handling of weapons:
I could hurl the javelin and throw the spear,
At a distance I could hit the center of the target.
I had had a very skillful teacher for the bow,
Who always said: “You are aiming at yourself,
For sight and seen and seer are but one;
When two you will often miss the target; when one you shall not fail,
Remember this unity and you will not fail.”
Throughout my life I persisted in this unity
And Did Not Fail.
In these days society owed every man a living,
And every man owed society an obligation,
For feeling the presence of the universal life,
Heart-throbs meant more than the satisfaction of sense—
There was mutual aid, there was mutual exchange,
Natural goodness became a common thing.
If you presume this is imagination,
If you want to look at it even in this material age,
Glance at the institutions of the Isle of Bali,
Where the spirit of dharma has not been so upset by sastras.
In these days society owed every man a living,
And every man owed society an obligation.
I was apprenticed to a herdsman when a boy,
Taught to lead flocks from lowlands to uplands,
To return them to valleys in due season,
To give them protection and guidance,
Knowing full well that my comfort depended on them.
For brotherhood extended beyond the human group,
And full consideration was given to animals,
Who share the universal life.
For this we were taught the secrets of music,
That the vibrations tense the atmosphere,
That the vibrations of the flute appealed to animals,
That music was a living communication,
That sound was not empty, sound was real,
That sound was the sign of life and God;
Sound was God.
In those times, Nandi the untamable bull roamed about,
Free to go where he would, shunning mankind,
Though he never harmed the herds,
Nor disturbed any peaceful creature,
Yet he had not been caught by man, he was untamed.
Only during the rutting season would he come and mingle,
Before him even the giant herd-bulls gave way,
For he was stronger than any of them,
Able to protect them against marauding wild beasts,
So even the stalking leopard and cruel tiger would not approach,
Too often had his horns been swabbed by their blood—
They had learned, and were afraid.
Expectant mother-cows looked on with admiration,
The calves from his essence were superior,
The flesh of his begotten more tender,
Finer the milk of his daughter-kine,
And greater the quantity that, flowed from their udders;
Yoked to wagons, his scions felt no restraint,
Traveling longer hours not irked by any leash—
Only their sire remained unmastered, free on the hills,
Thwarting every effort to be corralled.
Knowing this, I did not seek the bull but sought within,
Hoping to find answers within my being,
Listening for the sound which is God within my heart,
To recognize the message that came with the sound,
And in the stillness of the vast Himalayas,
Music from the empyrean came to my being:
The heart thumped rhythms,
The soul propounded melodies,
The mind received and the lips portrayed—
Then the flute sang, sang over the hills,
Electrifying the atmosphere and enchanting the beasts,
Though those of the jungle did not approach,
Fearing to molest my holy flocks,
Protected as they were by sounds of the flute.
Denizens of the forest were caught in its spell:
Wild deer strode near, boars came from their seclusion,
Mighty goats of the higher crags came to the meadows,
And every sort of bird hovered near when I played,
But all the while attention to the flute: these were not my quarry.
One day, fierce as a roving tiger,
Even fiercer than a she-tiger recently cubbed,
Nandi came, pawed the ground and danced,
Lowered his horns and bellowed—
He bellowed aloud and he lowed asoft,
And when my music stopped he pawed again and shook his horned head.
So I played and continued until at length he drew near,
Dancing again, moving about, and never stopping,
For the lord of Life had given me this music,
And the Flute was receiving the accommodation of the elements:
The earth received, the air appropriated,
And the bull was caught in the spell.
I came near, I touched, I patted, I embraced—
Nandi was no longer a raging bull, an untamed wild male creature;
He became as tender as a petted she-dog,
He was as loving as a favorite steed;
I stroked his back and he lowed,
I mounted and he was willing,
So I rode on his back down to my village,
Was borne through the streets before my amazed neighbors,
And never after was I in want of a companion
For Nandi became my carrying steed,
My caressing hound, my protective guardian,
Until his karmic purpose was fulfilled.
What was this victory attained over the bull, Nandi?
Was there some unfathomable secret in the music?
Were there miracles in sound and could I learn them?
These questions perplexed my inner being,
Puzzled my companions and the inquisitive;
People wanted to share in knowledge,
They regarded me a magician or skilled shaman,
One favored by the gandharvas, in touch with the unseen.
Curious or skeptical they came and begged:
Would I demonstrate something more?
Would I share in magic thus acquired?
Too young to otherwise I took my flute and played,
Played as I had never done before,
Becoming so inspired my flute was electrified,
Many melodies flew into the air,
Falling on the ears of people and on their hearts.
They came and danced and sang,
Domesticated animals also,
The cocks crowed lustily and the dogs kept howling,
The horses neighed, the cows mooed, the goats baa’ed,
Even timid rabbits came to join,
The mongoose paid no heed to them and listened,
And the snakes grew incautious as they approached,
Twisting and turning as if to mock the music,
Refusing the rhythms and causing annoyance—
Who was the master? The vipers or myself?
The people watched as if it were a tournament,
The folks would gather—it was to be a contest,
If the snakes held out, their god must be the master.
I turned within myself, and concentrated more and more
Until I heard that mighty Generating Voice,
The Voice of many sounds both hidden and heard,
Until I became the music that was player
And the flute was the outlet.
It throbbed and leaped and sang as never before,
Magnetizing the atmosphere, drawing the poisonous cobras.
They crawled over me, and I was not aware,
They fawned and bowed and flattered, but I did not know,
As if Nagarjuna, master of all the vipers, was challenging,
Taunting and vexing and teasing till I would grow perplexed;
But the silence maintained me and I was the victor
And thereafter he became my friend.
First the people were afraid,
Wondering and doubting about the snake-god,
From doubt to wonder and to worship
Till I became known as the Lord-of-the-Serpents,
Conqueror of the reptiles in battle,
Though when I recovered I knew I was no Lord,
But the servant of the Lord of every creature.
I accepted and rendered thanks for salutations,
For my enemies had taught me to concentrate,
They had compelled the focusing of effort,
As they had expressed admiration, so would I,
And though their fangs caused sorrow, I would appreciate,
Considering them to be worthy opponents,
Accepting the serpent henceforth as a symbol,
Symbol of that within to be overcome,
Symbol of that without to be admired.
In the course of time I became leader of the people,
Young in years and short in experience,
But skilled in many arts, champion with the bow,
Hurling the javelin into the fleet quarry,
The swift mountain goats could not evade my efforts,
The horned sheep could not outwear my patience,
So from apprentice I became protector of the community.
But young, I was inquiring, I was ambitious,
Ruling rather as an elder brother than as a raja,
Merely a slightly elevated among my equals.
We had no tyranny in those ancient times,
The despot was quite inconceivable,
No great gap between the ruler and the ruled,
All feeling a near-equality beneath the high gods,
All blessed by the same bounty of the heavens,
All fed by the same foods from the earth.
The more wisdom, the more humility,
The greater the zeal to learn rather than to teach
So I remained as guardian of the herds,
Going to the high mountains during the torrid summer,
Returning to the valleys in due season,
Finding a wealth of wealth in the pluriverse,
Able to withstand all vicissitudes of weather—
Henceforth I needed little clothing,
Impervious to heat and cold even on high Kailasa,
Searching the mountains and finding sacred springs,
Whence the great rivers of Asia had their sources,
Exploring a multitude of caves,
For curiosity and for solitude,
Meditating on the unity with the One
Till felt the heart-throbs of this very universe,
Becoming more and more absorbed in the Total One.
My body became refined, hard to contain me,
So I threw ashes over it to remain one with earth,
Holding that nothing could defile the truly sacred—
There was no ultimate excrescence or holiness,
Thus becoming a Yogi in the true sense,Exploring the All-Pervading Serenity everywhere.
Within universal soul one felt mankind,
With universal being animals were my children,
There was living communion with the totality of creation,
Neither tame nor wild were different,
From the crawling vermin no separation,
And the same pulsations within the universe of plants,
Whose phloem and xylem suggest Prakriti and Purusha.
Thence to know the creatures of the other planes,
The Yakshas and Rakshas and horrible Pretas,
For there was no form without life, beautiful or horrible,
And there is no thought without life, beautiful or horrible,
Unity pervading in every direction,
Till I seemed the incarnation of snow-covered Himavat,
Thus to be my home, perpetual abode,
It the body of me, I the god of it.
A lull in the rainy season:
Jacarandas now could blossom without fear,
Creamy Arjuna flowers made their appearance,
Fragrant Jasmines scented the air,
Giant Deodars shook, awakening from dreaming,
Bougainvillea colored every slope,
And the jungle donned its gayest plumage—
Birds responded: hoopoo and cockatoo and pheasant,
And peacocks strutted around the gardens,
With choruses of frogs and insects to form the battery.
Then I spent time wandering in the gardens,
Feeling myself part of the very earth,
I could see Parvati as she strolled,
So essential to the scene.
Could the music that so captivated animals,
Appeal to the beloved of my heart and win her grace?
My Parvati seemed a million times more important
Than all the otherbeings in experience.
When I was young I had been affianced,
For it was the custom that everyone must marry;
Nor was there any great distinction between the sexes,
Though the education of the boy had been my lot,
And the education of the girl was otherwise.
Then there was not purdah, no seclusion
Excepting for one brief period at puberty
When tremendous new life surged into the flesh,
And it was wise to instruct the young accordingly.
Woman were as free as men,
Though both were bound by custom—
We lived when wars were rare,
When peaceful relations were found more profitable,
And the young could marry without the community,
Although they could not affiance outside their gens.
So it was arranged that I meet with Parvati,
And instantly we admired one another.
We shared in various labors:
She with me in the hills, I with her in the home,
And I learned the ways of woman from her,
And she acquired the ways of man from me,
While youthful élan expressed itself in both:
In me in a positive manner, in her in a responsive manner,
So we dwelt together to test compatibility,
And as there was serenity, as there was joy,
Our marriage was sanctified by the community.
In the warm embrace of Parvati I found another music,
Felt the throbbing of supernal bliss,
Imaging a mighty organ with rows upon rows of pipes:
The shrill Flute, the lisping Vox Humana,
The mighty Bourdon and the deep Diapason,
The proud Tromba and the singing Viols—
There are these, and many, many more.
As the organ is to the flute,
So the human expressions of love to those with animals,
And this experience of divinity in man,
Pictured as Karma Yoga, completion through desire,
But not to be differentiated from other Yogas
Even though they are different to the uninitiated,
Is one Way to the grand fulfillment of Life.
We often visited the Oracle,
A virgin of keen sight and humble mien,
Who saw beyond dense Prithivi,
Command with spirits and even with gods,
Thus read the language of the fated.
We never forced young maidens into strange wedlock
With those of deep maturity, or bearded hoodlums.
Marriage was a means toward higher evolution,
To fulfill some unexplored portion of karma,
Made for man and woman working together.
Ah, to look down the course of centuries,
To see the rites of marriage so polluted,
Legalities and conventions substituted,
The soul and God forgot and compulsions
Even for the sanctitude of the bed-chamber.
We had no vested priesthood in those times,
Nor detailed legalisms fixating life,
Regarding all our children as souls,
Souls on a continuous journey from life to life.
What a wonderful beginning for new adventures,
For in loving Parvati I came to love the world,
And found in her that self-same wonder
That I had learned in the vastness of the jungles.
To me the wife was more than miracle,
To me the wife became more than an imagined divinity,
To me the wife was more than all my faculties,
That before our marriage I had known only half-life,
Now there was fulfillment of every part of personality.
Man needs God to become complete, and woman also;
But the male may discover divinity in the female,
And the female may encounter completion in the male.
Then indeed does marriage become a communion,
Then is every interaction sacred:
Communion in eating and drinking,
Communion in sharing worldly goods,
Communion in joy and sorrow and tribulation,
Communion in physical function and in devotion,
Parvati and I became as one,
Husband and wife, wife and husband were as one;
As the days passed, so the years passed,
Only our bodies and minds remained apart,
So every act between us was a sacrament,
In giving, in doing, in completing our marriage.
What had man for woman:
Above all that power which arises out of space,
Which originates in the deep springs of the universe,
Which formulates the motifs of the male,
Makes for his prowess and protecting hand,
Passes through his sinews into his loins,
As Lingam-Shakta incarnate.
I poured my essence into my woman
That she might share the virtue of these faculties.
And what, in turn had she for me?
Above all, that magnetism which springs from earth,
Which emanates from atoms, from the essence of thingness,
Responsive, healing, cooling, revivifying.
These virtues circulate throughout her being,
Combine with many rhythms drawn from earth,
And from her came blessings I might share—
This Yoni-Shakti, the assimilation of life in things,
Which transforms a corpse into a thing of beauty.
O Kama! Kama! What perfidies committed in thy name!
Love befouled by passion in fancy or fact.
Love besmirched by decrepit lust-desire,
Love made into everything—but love.
But knowing the real spirit of the universe,
Understanding the all-propelling nature of this urge,
I saw that sex and marriage are pathways to divinity
Upward, if travelled in harmony with nature,
Upward if personal duties were fulfilled,
When sharing, giving, taking are regarded as sacred.
Even our half bodies are no longer obstacles,
Our imperfections become as meaningless,
When the science-art of Kama-Yoga is practiced.
And when at last any course was run,
When my work on earth was done,
When from this life departing
Leaving behind beloved wife;
My spirit did not rise above,
Held by the noble bond of love,
Which raised Parvati’s eyes to mine,
Her heart repeating “I am thine;”
She then prepared the funeral pyre,
Threw her bones upon consuming fire,
Indifferent to the burning flame,
Feeling my absence a greater shame,
She would not stay half-dead, bereft,
All life had gone when I had left
Her glory was to be with me,
Heart linked to heart, eternally.
Awake, o man, for the cock has completed his call,
Night’s duties are completed
And earth is soothed by gentle breezes;
Come from thy sleep at this wonderful hour
When heaven, now near to earth, sends forth its elixir,
Bathe in the sacred stream, anoint your forehead,
Face the rising sun and life, hands in adoration,
For this day is bringing you a new birth,
This moment may restore your lagging efforts,
And reincarnation is proven anew—this very instant.
In those days society owed every man a living
And every man owed society an obligation.
Having obtained the leadership of my clan,
hoped to help my fellows on the path to God,
That in spirituality they might gain freedom,
In spirituality experience joy,
Through spirituality attain ultimate peace.
This became my objective while on earth,
This remaining my objective ever since,
So people would come to find happiness in their world,
And also learn the profit and pleasure of rest,
Assimilating akasha at early dawn,
And attracting other elements as needed,
Expending their energies wisely through the day.
Thus the Dharma of every person was established:
Dharma of man and wife which has been called Kama,
Dharma of man and society known as Arsha,
Dharma of ritual and worship known as Dharma
And Dharma of fulfillment—Sadharma or Mukti.
Verily these are all as one,
Though the ignorant in later times have separated them,
Though the analysts even while preaching unity,
Have divided life from life and duty from duty:
First misrepresenting Kama, making it lust
Next falsifying Arsha, into the quest for wealth,
But it was not so in the beginning.
Karma-Yoga of the ignorant has no value,
Karma-Yoga of the analyst is misleading,
Karma-Yoga of the lecturer is intellectual filth;
It is not a philosophy or credal religion,
But a practical assimilation of divinity,
From the first breath of morning till eventide,
From the beginning of life until culmination;
Break of dawn brings akasha,
Waters give of apas, breath of vayu,
Warm sun tejas, binding earth prithivi,
All of them absorbed through the sacred ritual,
In each according to his nature,
For each according to his needs,
So folk-ways were directed with purpose,
And even today remnants are found
In picturesque Bali, so far from India,
Where a selfish priestcraft has not been promoted,
Aggrandized at the expense of the laity,
Throwing religion into the pit of superstition;
Nor have the people been misled by metaphysicians,
Verbalizing and analyzing and extracting,
Until the Dharma is an empty vessel.
Then caste was established according to assimilation,
Assimilation and Dharma determined caste,
Each element indicated prowess at a task,
While he who needed seclusion was drawn to akasha —
So the formulation of caste, But There Was No Outcaste.
There were many trades, each with a corresponding element,
Craftsman were instructed to benefit therefrom,
Craftsman sought perfection through the element,
Thus ability and skill and linkage to the daily toil,
And by one’s breath and Dharma was he known,
But There Was No Outcaste.
I established jars, promoted trades,
Encouraged artists, invigorated toilers,
Taught holiness of duty, sacredness of work,
And learned when I taught and even before I taught,
I felt the heart-throb of my people
In Whom There Was No Outcaste.
We would prepare for feasts, give periodical pageants,
To which farmers brought fruits and grain,
Fisherman gave spoils from the waters,
Carpenters built and furnished platforms,
Weavers made fancy costumes,
Musicians and dancers prepared for entertainments,
Painters and poets joining also in the festivities,
And woman as well as men joined in all activities,
Even as in Bali today was Mahabharata of old,
Where There Was No Outcaste.
I taught my people through example,
I did not overstress any precept,
I never requited what could not be done,
But always insisted upon the sacred outlook.
The beginning of the day was based on Yoga,
The continuance of the day continued on,
And if the Source of Life could be contacted,
The work was sure to be correctly done.
I urged the need for proper concentration,
Showed the value of frequent meditation,
Taught the sciences and arts,
Explaining patiently each simple task,
Yet man could change his trade at will,
And there was nothing like later slavery.
There were schools established for children,
There were disciplines for youths,
There were festivals for every season,
And communal enjoyment was the way of life.
This was religion, this was art, this was Dharma.
Then we had grade without fierce competition,
Thus there was exchange but never bitterness,
And morals were woven into the social pattern.
There was no precept, “Love ye one another,”
There was no action that needed a golden rule,
A universal instinct guided society
Without recourse to scriptures or priests.
Only those excelling in akasha
Became our priests and priestesses and oracle,
Functioning from ability, not from inheritance,
So there was strength from joy and joy from strength,
And happiness was manifest in every action.
This is the beginning, this the end of Karma Yoga,
Not a doing for another, but partaking with another,
A sharing in that Life which holds no “other.”
Then came the dark of the moon,
With winds hollowing through the mountain fastnesses,
And wolves re-echoing and tigers stealing,
While screech owls hover over the terrain,
And leopards cause much terror in the farmyards,
The lightning brightening and frightening,
The thunderbolts bringing fear.
Some hold that from this fear religion sprang,
That the source of religion is fear,
But I say the source of superstition is fear,
That fear and darkness produce the superstition
And superstition continues fear and darkness,
But from true religion can come only joy and peace.
So I taught my people the Dharma for their duties,
And the Abhidharma for the understanding,
And the Saddharma for the perfection of their beings.
The carpenter has his hammers and saw,
His plane, his adze, his awl,
And when his tools need mending,
He calls upon the smith.
The fisherman has his poles and nets,
His boat, his tackle, his weights,
Yet he constantly examines them,
And damage is repaired.
The farmer has his plot and cart,
His hoes, has mattocks, his rakes,
And when these have been broken or worn,
He sees they are replaced.
But the mind of man is constantly used,
And then it is neglected,
So the ignorant must suffer disease,
When it fails to serve them rightly.
O you psychologists, who make so much of mind,
What is the nature of this mind which so engages you?
How can there be “science of mind” if you do not know it?
What is this Mind? And tell me, what is it not?
I sought the reasons for fear, and its relief;
I sought the basis for negative undoings,
For the failings in man, and for disease,
And meditated, and at last an answer came:
It was a balmy day on Himalayan meadows,
Sheep were grazing on the lower side,
While cattle gathered underneath the trees,
And as I mused, my former teacher came,
I looked, and behold it was the very man
Who had taught me, when a boy, to use the bow,
To tense the string, to find the target,
To look within myself with every effort,
And again he taught the same,
This being his instructions:
When the earth was first composed, it was heavy atoms,
That formed the mould, and it was long
Before light vibrations could be received;
A play took place between vibrations and atoms,
And in this drama the realm of mind was made
Placed between spirit and matter in such a way,
That they might meet and intermingle.
The earth could not conceive the heavens,
The heavens would not receive the earth,
So akasha intermediated and mind became,
From the heart the intellect has sprung,
And as the night revolved itself to day,
The senses manifested according to the tattvas,
The body thus was able to receive the tattvas,
The breath became the channel for the tattvas,
A ladder from earth to heaven, so to speak,
And thus mind came to function,
First in tenuous forms among the lower creatures
And most operative in man, manusha,
Man the creature of mind, mind the essence of manhood.
Om! The precious guru!
Namo! The life-giving guru!
He drinks in the spirit of space,
Draws in the substance of spheres,
This body and mind a holy temple,
He blesses whatever he contacts,
His very presence bringing bliss.
Om! The most holy guru!
Namo! Love-scattering guru!
He gives what he does because he is what he is,
A sun here on earth, replete with compassion,
He blesses and touches and heals with a glance,
He inhales divinity, exhales its powers,
The channel for whatever exists,
With consciousness bathed in the Primordium.
Om! The perfect guru!
Namo! The radiating guru!
To know is to love him, to love is to know him,
Whose presence is bliss,
Whose presence brings peace,
Whose pupils and he form a ladder together,
Bringing heaven to earth and earth up above,
The seen and unseen in one grand communion,
Om! Hari! Om! Hari! Om!
So my guru manifested essence,
So my guru instructed me on purpose,
Revealed the nature of the bodies which constitute man,
Gave lessons on the organs and vessels within this body,
On the nadis and tubes and sheaths encased in chakras,
So the temple of the body become reality.
Wonderful is the physical structure of man,
Powerful beyond perception;
Most wonderful is this mind of man,
A palace of elegant mirrors,
An edifice of brightly burnished crystal,
A laboratory of marvellous transformations.
As body needs food, so nerves need nourishment;
As body must rest, so nerves must relax;
As body needs work, nerves need direction:
Thus I was taught the deep Raja Yoga,
Science of perfection of mind,
Science of perfection through mind,
The union of man with God through mind,
The union of man with God through energy,
The union of man with God through repose.
First there was naught, then there was aught,
From naughtness to aughtness we came,
In aughtness we seem to live and move but die,
To naughtness we must return.
So there is the silence of the Ultimate,
When the waves of the great ocean are calmed,
When the steady light no longer flashes,
When breath moves in slow, grand, gentle rhythms,
The godhead and the manhood firmly united,
The veil of divisions removed from mind,
And man sees God, lives in God, rests in God;
And God lives in men, works through man, sees through man—
This is Nirvana, Saddharma, Mukti, salvation.
The wheel of endless journey is then stilled,
One passes to the other shore of being,
The separated consciousness is gone,
The self and the not-self disappear.
In this body there are definite locations,
Where nerves combine to accommodate all energies,
When activities of the higher functions may manifest,
And all planes of the universe become apparent.
Each of these centres is arranged for some special purpose,
Each satisfies some cosmic need,
And thus in living flesh, the temple of our God.
O man, what are thou to be mindful of thyself?
O man, what is thy purpose, thy dharma, thy perfection?
What is the glory of God but mental appreciation?
What is the praise of Ishwara but mental humiliation?
What is sacred duty but mental acceptation?
As the light of the sun illuminates the moon,
Just so the cosmic light may energize the body,
Reclothe and purify the mind,
Through breath, through blood, through water
(Thus the scriptures, thus otherwise religion),
And as the soul awakens the life of God appears—
This is the essence of Raja Yoga, all else is commentary.
It is not a complication,
It is not mystification
It is not an esoteric tire within dark chambers,
It is not a fabrication,
It is not hallucination,
But the coming forth of consciousness to day.
From that dark hour, like the crescent moon,
Selfhood disappears in all surrender,
And as one strong-willed bows before the guru,
So one strong-disciplined removes imperfection,
Until the finality brings the goal.
In ancient times man lived for many years,
For the moon was joined with the sun within;
In ancient times there were multitudes of seers,
For the moon within was responsive to the sun,
And sun and moon both bless the earth,
Through all the cycles of rebirth.
In modem times there is much weariness,
In modem times there is worrying and fear,
And every divertissement increases ennui.
With false dependence on concocted stimulants,
A man’s wild chase, ghosted as “progress,”
A turn from nature to artificial life,
A taste for novelty, a zeal for amusement
With lusts that are never gratified,
And a total inability to be at peace.
Raja Yoga is a completed education,
To rescue the mind of man from its undoing,
To enfranchise the human spirit,
To bring the utmost satisfaction,
Depending most of all on a qualified guru,
Without which it can even be less
Than self-efforts to encompass the sciences.
O people who glorify in reason,
It is not wrong to sanctify reason,
But why do we live in limitations
If reason is so self-fulfilling?
On Mount Ararat the Ark of Noah found rest,
And in the universe of light peace manifests.
For this one recommends postures.
That the benefits of Prakriti be absorbed,
And the purpose of each part of the body
Become part of the human knowledge.
We used to know the significance of disease,
How it was acquired and how it could be allayed,
Whether through a suitable healing ritual,
Or by an exorcism of the mind,
Which has been interpreted as casting out “spirit,”
A vacuous term, indicating lack of knowledge.
Often the healing of the mind salvates the body,
Uproots the cause of many diseases and discomforts,
And in the observation of these principles,
We discover the significance of psychic laws.
So we have been taught, so we can teach,
So we can learn, if only we will,
Aye, if only we will …
Om! Hari Om!
Before the appearance of man on earth,
The gods were having some difficulty,
For they had to establish a physical world,
Nor could this world stand without a trace of akasha,
And in the evolution of the species,
While earth and water and fire and air
Combined in various activities,
The conscious mind could not maintain itself,
And there was either too much or too little of ego-stuff.
Sun and moon and stars had been properly fashioned
Under the wise guidance of skillful Prakriti,
Who move the dense matter out of her being—
From this the mineral kingdom had been formed,
With a multitude of variations and tunings,
The presence or absence of fire in quantity
Determining the form of crystalline or vitreous formations,
All of them subject in turn to disintegrating forces,
For without disintegration evolution could not be;
So many stars and planets have been made
Without the appearance of living beings thereon
And as the material world does not know the finer forces,
They only can observe, they cannot explain,
God, as Vishnu the Preserver, maintains the orders,
And even Brahma could not proceed
Until the Lord, as Assimilator, broke down the egos,
So, it was only by the destruction of the crystals,
That earthy material came into existence,
And from earth the procedure of germ and plant,
The gradual elaboration of cellular structures,
The ever evolving ability to assimilate materials
Drawn from the nitrogen of air and its compounds,
Until after aeons of ceaseless endeavor,
The giant forms of trees appeared in the plantworld,
And thus it was possible to lodge the psyche
On this earth, the planet that we know.
The gods were not idle while this was going on,
They wanted some beings more akin to themselves,
So out of the self-same cellular organisms,
They produced the non-chlorophyllic structures,
The graduate complications of the animals,
From the most simple of formations to the vast,
Until there were monsters who would not serve the gods,
And an almost ceaseless warfare between devas and asuras;
Only intervention of the highest deities terminated that,
So the monsters we call reptiles, gradually subsided,
The mightiest giants of the deep began to disappear,
And loftier psychic begins, at first in tiny forms,
Appeared in this world to grow in numbers and in power.
The wars between asuras and devas had made it impossible
To fashion a proper entity for this world
Which could imbibe the primal matter with akash.
When Prakriti and the gods had sat in council,
They successfully produced a mineral cluster,
But it would receive only prithivi and apas;
Then, with the help of the Divinity as Destroyer,
They created fine earth and germs came into being,
And as the germs evolved they assimilated tejas,
And thus herbs and phorbs and finally the trees,
Which in the nighttime successfully inhaled vayu,
But in the daytime tejas still held sway.
It was only with the appearance of the animals,
That proper vehicles were manifest for vayu,
And only after lengthy aeons,
Propelled by almost infinite patience, the gods proceeded:
“Now we can produce man, capable of imbibing akasha.”
But the gods were reckoning without Prakriti,
There had to be a body from Prakriti.
So they went into a cosmic meditation:
“Hail to the Divine Mother in whose bosom all things are,
Out of whose body every atom of creation has proceeded,
Who would destroy Herself even that creatures may live—
From whose bosom came this world in its pristine pattern,
A perfect harmonic temple of crystallic embodiments,
Destined to persist, but not evolve,
A material temple without a psychic counterpart—
Yet willingly she broke down the edifice of self,
That higher beings might appear—
And so it is in spiritual evolution,
Whenever the highest must avail,
The being of ego-self has to be consumed,
For the sake of the totality of All.”
The gods continued with their deliberations,
While the soul entered a body of fine clay:
“Alas, I have become an animal,
I am an imprisoned beast in a loathsome body,”
But the gods said otherwise, declaring;
“Do not be deluded by your Maya,
Fine is your body, assimilating akasha,
You can perform marvels, come and we shall show;
You can carry power to earth, come and we shall show,
You can perform what even we may not, come and we shall show,
You can even master the siddhis while on earth,
Your freedom and your imprisonment are one,
Come and we shall show.”
My teacher had made my continuous evolution possible,
And seeking the seclusion of the caves,
I was able to explore the kingdoms within myself:
Naraka, Preta, Raksha, Tirthaga-Yoni,
Manusha, Pitri, Gandharva and Deva,
Every one of which has correspondences in man,
And the seeds of them are found within the body—
This body inherited from the animals,
This body replete with infinite potentials,
This body accommodating vast vibrations,
This body a reflection of the universe.
In another sense man does possess three bodies,
Interwoven, intermingling in space,
But manufactured and functioning different vibrations,
So the flesh is a body after its own kind, and visible,
And the thoughts are denizens of other worlds,
And the heart possesses potentials far beyond these,
Still even in the flesh man may find God’s essence,
Even in the flesh there is the reflection of everything.
Whatever God has created and carried to perfection,
Possesses a wisdom peculiar to its kind,
Not always manifesting in other creatures;
But man may be the master of all forms,
As the ant by proper breathing carries heavy loads,
So man by proper breathing may carry heavy loads;
As the elephant by patience, loftiness and memory
Manifests a kind of wisdom for itself,
So man by patience and slow and lofty breathing,
Can perfect his memory and patience;
As the cobra can attract by perfect concentration,
So man may develop magnetism for this end;
As the dog will pant to keep his body cool,
So man can master the exhalation of his breathing;
Whatever is in the animal can be adopted by man.
True in those days we had rather ligamentous bodies,
The bones were not too firm, and we resembled children—
In our flesh, in our psychic habits and otherwise,
So we could imitate domestic animals,
And observing how they acted, absorb this wisdom,
We adopted the postures of the animals,
Changing the positions of our bodies,
Learning a number of postures and self-control,
And whenever illness struck we found a way to cure it.
We exercised inner muscles as well as outer ones,
We came to control involuntary organs,
Whatever was in the body, was our servant,
We were the masters of the outer self,
Thus developing what is known as Hatha Yoga,
Making for Prakrit the best of vehicles.
Scriptures teach the wonders of breath,
Priestcraft preaches the wonders of ceremonies;
Without ceremonies man can conceivably live,
But without breathing there is no life at all:
Every inhalation brings the properties of the spheres,
Every exhalation exudes man’s karma,
A purified inhalation salvates the vehicles,
And as Shiva, the Purifier, I stand forth:
I purify, I cast out, I heal, I free.
Breathing and postures together exhilarate one’s being,
As important or more than other bodily functions,
And so enhance the “building of the temple.”
Hatha Yoga is therefore a means of union,
Not a course in magic or wonder-working,
Not a phenomenal ego-advertising—
The lingam has become the symbol of expression,
And the yoni correspondingly for impression,
The former dominating in the male,
The latter more important for the female.
But both are present in the glandular structure
For “male and female He created them.”
So I learned the bane of heavy meats,
Discovered the secret fluids in many herbs,
And gave instructions which persist through the ages.
Where the gods had failed in creating a proper pudgala,
The infinite courses of the cosmic trends,
Produced and produce through insistent evolution,
The perfectibility and perfection
Of the body, mind and heart
And every vehicle.
Om! … Hari Om! ….
Now this universe is skillfully made,
With correspondences in man,
There are many planes and principles,
All of them found in man,
Varying degrees and kinds of light,
Perceivable within man;
So whatever there is in entirety,
The replica is in man.
Once there was a universal belief in magic,
And ancient cultures were all tinged with magic,
Based on truths derided by civilizations,
For magic is both a science and an art,
Based upon sympathetic attunement
Between things and beings in variety.
We know there is the ferro-magnetism of iron,
But do not recognize the attractive powers
Found in many types of personalities
Which the intellect, or self, cannot explain.
There are many kinds of magnetism and radiations,
Of which the scientists have uncovered a few,
Still unable to explain all they have observed,
And even while the commentators deride
The water-dowsers are employed to social benefit.
The rise of mechanical genius only covers
Latencies and potencies known in the past,
And the psychologists of the day are lost,
Never circumventing their own ideas,
Loathe to admit doctrines of other schools,
Unable to explain tendencies toward disequilibrium.
It was only in recent times the hormones were explained,
Though they were known to many ancient peoples,
And the deriders of magic go far out to show
That some discoveries are modern achievements.
In ancient times there was the Tantra Yoga,
Science of the correspondences
Between the loci of the universe and those of man’s body,
Which, if we accept the scripture (we do not),
Would seed the essences of the whole creation.
Even today the emotions are not explained—
How can there be an emotion without a center?
Without some organ as a locus of its activities?
And though the Occident is very hesitant,
It will recognize the Wisdom of the East
As time uncovers the fallacies of self-centering.
The positive forces in man may be known as “Shiva,”
The respondent activities are called “Shakti,”
Which activities move and operate through our beings,
And to each act there is a counterforce
Whether we call this “karma” or “Newton’s Laws”—
There is no difference between these explanations,
And nonsense about this science and this esotericism,
For Nature is Nature and Truth always remains Truth.
Dead flesh is dead; your living tissues contain
The richness and fullness of the soul’s faculties,
And universal progression was in expanding bliss—
Wine-bibbery is only a shadowy counterpart,
And the tendency toward drugs reveals the asura,
The counterpart of livingness in man,
Seeking to pull him back into the shadows,
With tantalizing temptations of pleasantries,
For which in the end the karmic debt must be paid.
But there is another method to growth,
Compounded, it is true, with activities of will,
Which, in examining and exploring the bodily centers,
Shows the marvel of the creation within the self.
Wisdom, power and perfection are aspects of infinity,
Wisdom, power and perfection are as three paths to the goal,
Wisdom, power and perfection may be utilized
When man has power over the heart-beat and the breath,
When the spirit, taken into the web of flesh,
Is assimilated as a sort of cosmic milk
From which whatever is required may be withdrawn,
The mana which the Bible annotates,
Capable of producing any satisfaction,
So that one who wishes wisdom attains wisdom
And one who has need of power attains power,
But this power, this wisdom, this perfection are as one,
Probing into the sympathetic system,
Flowing through the autonomic system,
The disciple, skilled in Hatha and Raja Yogas,
Combines the different methods he has learned,
And recognizes in the great column of the backbone,
The vital forces which move upward in the body,
Spiritualizing the thousand-petalled lotus,
Or opening the lamp-center in the forehead,
Or moving to the recesses of heart,
Thus to master karma in the flesh,
Transform this earthly vehicle into a servant,
And through the cell-like transformation of this body,
Become a master in the outerworld.
We find in this flesh the naraka, the preta, the raksha,
Which symbolize or actualize the states of hell;
We find in this flesh the pitri, the gandharva, the deva,
Which symbolize or actualize the states of heaven,
For only in man are found the six pavilions of the wheel,
And only he can survey the whole universe.
One finds naraka in syphilis, paralysis,
And all the worldly medicines have not served
To eradicate this evil, avoiding karma,
Nor to prevent their recurrence,
Nor to deal with other than the physical form—
For here akasha is needed, and only through the breath
Or through the heart can it be channeled.
The hungry-pretas are observable in cancer
And other devitalizing ailments
And in slaves of narcotics,
Caught in the dream world, phagocytes, not men.
Rage, distemper, fever and common ailments
Show we have within us the raksha and asura,
Where exorcism is needed, or self-mastery—
Thus Hatha-Yoga is not mere exercise,
A demonstration of weird animalic feats,
But the means to control the animal in the ego,
Of which the asanas are empty symbols
Unless the instruction comes from a master-teacher.
Do not be deluded, therefore, with mere phenomena,
For every asana must also be a devotion,
Without Shiva or Shakti, these are useless efforts,
For which a karmic price is paid, or more,
And many have been misled to the asylum
Who seek for Yogic instruction without its holiness.
It was in later times when the rules were promulgated,
That the moral instructions preceded the asanas,
Or else were taught synchronously with them,
For otherwise the postures bring only mischief—
There is a wisdom of divinity in every animal,
And an element of beastliness in each—
To obtain the wisdom and forego the beast,
There must be recognition of God or Teacher,
Or God in the Guru and Guru in God—
The Lion and Bull and Eagle within our beings
May add to our glory and purify our purpose.
There is no magic in the mere word kundalini,
And as the vessels of man are three—
The flesh, the subtle, the causal together,
Whence essences from each may travel through all,
And the personality be as a three-in-one;
But above all else is the Heart with its flowing Love,
Love that feeds every cell within the flesh,
Love that energizes the currents of the mind,
Love that resurrects itself in the heart
With every pulsating beat of circulation.
Love is of the self, not for the self;
Love is from the self, and yet beyond the self,
Love your neighbors in your flesh,
Love your cells and bones and tissues,
Love your digestive tract and generative organs,
Love each within and each without,
Guard every cell as if a teething infant,
Guard every muscle as if a growing child,
Guard every organ as if a private treasury—
In Thy Flesh Thou Shalt See God,
And if not there, then nowhere else.
Thus in time the body became illumined,
The light from the inner essence made its appearance,
Even the ashes did not always help,
Even the space could not withhold its radiance,
Even the world was thus delivered from darkness—
First in the body it began and then throughout the world—
Though the light was shining and the world did not believe.
I cast no shadow in the noon-day sun,
I lived in caves which became as self-illumined,
Temples likewise came to glow in this—
Thus the original tapas, and thus I was identified
With Rudra the Vedic god in later times—
I taught what I was, I was what I taught,
May it ever be thus. Om! ……
There is a movement from the very beginning of creation,
Constantly therefrom extending
Even to the uttermost planes of constituted existence,
And though the mind cannot fathom its depths,
There is a radiant and radiating harmony
Which pervades the Whole called creations,
Wherein the principles of line and formations remain,
Both as actualities and symbols of divinity.
The symbol is the sieving of divine wisdom through the forms,
Often vastly superior to all the philosophies
Which represent the similarity through ego-mind,
Which ego-mind is invariably poor and frustrated,
Recognizing limitations in the forms, not in itself.
The spurious philosophers of Aryan peoples,
Meeting the unwritten wisdom of their predecessors,
Put into books and speculations, opinions,
And opinions have long since displaced realities
Whereas the rituals, art-expressions and the like
Retain in shadowy crystallizations
Actual representations of actual operations.
Yantra Yoga is no longer recognized among mankind,
Save in a depleted form
Presenting only the complications of a later time.
Now to be restored to an aching world
Which must begin at the beginning and then on to complexity.
The Lingam and the Yoni, positive and negative,
Found in the straight line and the curve,
Serve as the bases of all movements of existence,
Whatever be the line of scientific seeking,
Whatever be the form of artistic expression,
Their primordial seeds are in these essences,
And Shiva and Shakti were and are and will be—
This is the secret of the people of Angkwor Wat,
Not to be recovered by copyings and deviations,
But by a return to the self-same source from which
They and the most ancient people of India
Knew and expressed their wisdoms. Come, and learn.
Did you ever see the face of the Great Lord?
It has been depicted in stone and marble,
An inspiration to artists, a cause of dismay to those
Who behold only the bases of low idolatry.
Pity the poor Dubois who see through astigmatic eyes,
Perceiving only debased superstition,
Unaware of the hidden power in a people
Which made magnificent monuments for all the world.
The Face of Siva still preserved in Cambodia …
That is the Shadow of the Face of the True.
We may begin with the line, we may begin with the circle,
We may proceed to the triangle, the swastika, the ouroburos—
If there were any beginning to the universe,
We can see in the ceaseless activities of the heavens,
Linear and curvilinear operations, the former most,
But in the earth the curve has been given utmost freedom,
This being the planetary form, but within them,
The crystals are all bounded by straight lines,
And vitreous matter otherwise. This the beginning.
In order to understand the self, both small and great,
Meditation and concentration are needed,
And the beginning of a Yoga, to end in divine assimilation,
Proceeds from the very small and onward.
Man walks, then jumps and leaps and skips,
And then the complications of the dance;
Forward first, then backward, sidewise and most intricate
Proceed the may embellishments of the dance.
Houses first in simple geometric forms,
And then the elaboration of the structures—
In Tibet the whole is known as the “Wisdom”—
No separation in art, science and mathematics—
How can one really disintegrate the all?
Kama Yoga is the wisdom of most natural love,
And there was Kama Bodhi where sacred love prevailed,
Among long stretches of hills called Kama Rupa,
And thence in later time to Kama-Bodhi called Cambodies,
Where the territories of the Munda peoples stretched.
The Mons and Khmers, united, or apart,
Practiced these Yogas of simplified prescriptions,
Beginning with the elementary forms,
And as there came understanding of these things,
The people noticed the principles in organisms,
Began to study nature as it was and is,
And found the self-same principles in everything.
Each centre in a living body a centre of all-life,
Gathering around itself essences and virtues and qualities
Which can be awakened by the practices of Tantra Yoga,
But the unveiling of the life-forces in the body
Only open understanding of the totality of beings,
And as art and life are not fundamentally different,
The dancing, music, drawing and all the rest,
Developed unseparated from devotion,
As this Yantra-Yoga, science of symbolic activity.
A line is not just a line, a curve not just a curve,
The lingam more than the lingam, and the yoni vaster than the yoni.
Thencefrom the understanding of cellular transfigurations,
The molding of bodies and forms and personalities,
This the first part.
Now as light proceeded from the primordium,
It crossed and criss-crossed itself,
And from these complicated operations,
Its shadows emanated the colors,
Not only as radiational activities,
For every one of these colors has a significance,
These operating along with the five-fold elements
And also with the attributes of personality,
So every color may have a complicated significance,
But with a simple keynote of definite expression.
The symbol, therefore, is an ocean in a cup,
Indicating both original line and movement
And carrying the psychological meanings therewith.
Thus the arts, and thus also the science of psychic powers,
The relation of these forces to these activities,
And the training of the human being therein,
Which does not need any special literature,
As the books are nature and man and nothing else.
Concentrate on the line, concentrate on the circle,
Concentrate on the reverse thereof, concentrate on change,
Bring them together in varying forms and motives,
Always attuning oneself to what one does,
And the inner and outer personality will be attuned
With an integrational, not an analytical approach,
So man is never separate from himself.
So we come to the delineation of the arts,
With thought forms firmly set at the base of each,
And as the simple principles are apprehended,
In similar methods to the dance and ritual,
In similar methods to employing the whole body therein,
And the maintenance of concentration and invocation,
Building up the mudri-wisdom, unseparate from the esthetics,
And knowing this, the whole of Southeast Asia,
Becomes an open book, from India east to India and south,
In whatever direction one turns one sees the marks.
The building of an altar is a craft,
The circumambulation has significance,
The decoration and so-called statues
Are replete with meanings and not superficial.
But man has ceased to take the Yogas seriously,
Spirituality is separated from the mass
As if the antithesis of everyday life—
This is something no prophet has ever taught,
The priest has often intervened himself,
Emphasized his person before the generality,
And veiled the Pervading God and holy teachings—
This the source of so much sorrow,
East and West, past and present alike,
And even the future may continue this nonsense:
The prophet is glorified but the priest is followed,
The prophet ennobled but the priest obeyed,
The scriptures sanctified and man belittled,
The works of his hands evaluated but his hands are not,
And religion is everywhere but in the heart,
The aims of life are anything but in the heart,
Art and science and religion compartmentalized,
Beauty jailed and veiled before the ignorant masses,
Or so complicated that its magic and power are gone.
Yet this need not be, no evil can persist:
The Silpa-Sastras of a later date
Were based upon my teachings and my methods.
And served the Aryavartans through the ages,
Yet there is a wider Sastra and it is wiser too,
Founded on Beauty and Love and Grandiloquence,
And footed and branched and treed in ultimate Oneness.
I knew that beauty which springs from this vast Universe,
That Grand View upon which everything else is based,
Merging into and emerging from Purusha,
In Whose bosom light and sound and glory are one,
Before Whom music and art and poetry are one,
In a bliss which the eye alone does not see,
In a bliss which the ear alone does not hear,
In a bliss unmarred by speculative philosophy,
In a bliss proclaimed but not attained,
Deeply imbedded in the depths of personality,
Heaped with refuse in the recesses of the heart.
The great epics of India, the sacred dances,
All the impetus behind temples and carvings and grandeur
Have arisen from this discipline of Yantra Yoga,
Finding and feeling the life in and beyond the space,
Recognizing the elemental vibrations in all their aspects.
Heart speaks only to heart on its own level,
Universal, provoking, inspiring.
Why should it be confined to a single idiom,
Molded into certain literature and stored
From those conceived as unworthy, until passing time
Veils both the guardians of the teaching
And those barred from participation.
A single life pervaded the whole of being,
A tremendous pulsation bounded and unbounded
Through the kingdoms of the seen and unseen,
And when hearts awaken the whole is clearly perceived.
Yet speculation must abide along with priestcraft,
The devil-ego persists and looks for badness elsewhere,
So man has ceased to recognize his godhood,
Charmed by his limitations, or the faults of others.
Here no philosophy can touch, no pundit
Ever scales the heights and no professor
Can even gleam what every infant knows—
The unlearned are often far more skilled
Than the self-esteeming literatures, full of pride—
But the moral precepts have been offered elsewhere,
Codes are no longer needed but rather efforts to retrace,
To unlearn the nonsense offered to the ignorant
By the still more ignorant leaders of society;
What every infant knows must now be learned by their elders—
There is nothing in the universe bereft of wonder,
Bliss is inherent in every lurking form,
Joy is near—has only to be uncovered.
Om! Hari Om!
Now, beloved, we come to the supreme attainment,
Union with Ishwara through wisdom, Jnana Yoga:
All other Yogas had been as upward efforts,
Wherein Prakriti sought Purusha, and Purusha Prakriti—
There is a marvel in these interplayings,
But nothing before the grand climactic achievement
Which completes and fulfills for God, for man, for the world.
The Supreme can observe the world through the eyes of man,
Can see and know and experience the outer life,
Who is never absent, Who is unseparate, Who alone is.
From the timeless beginning when man was conceived,
The Infinite has sought to explore the finite worlds
And still remain Itself. All other efforts
Require a sacrifice, are trapped with limitations
And it is only in the heart of man
That the Supreme may abide and still remain itself.
So it was that I, Siva, became perfected,
Incarnating the All in seeming singleness,
Mingling my particularity in the unrestricted,
Manifesting God to earth and earth to God,
Demonstrating purpose and potentiality.
Every mortal has the essence of this fulfillment,
Though there is the passing of the cycles of rebirth,
The seemingly endless functioning of karma,
With an almost impossible chance to escape samsara,
Yet this is delusion even more than samsara is delusion.
Having accomplished through Hatha-Yoga,
Having experienced through Kama-Yoga,
Having performed through Karma-Yoga,
Having excelled through Tantra-Yoga,
Having created through Yantra-Yoga,
Obtaining the crown through Raja-Yoga,
All as if the I were not the I,
Some delusion remained,
The shackles were not completely discarded.
If by the seeming self the self is not overcome,
If there are moments of liberation and wonder,
The constant possibility of a reaction,
The returning of the consciousness to finity,
Means that the ego-self has some reality
Apart from the All-Being which is the Essence,
But if it were possible to retain the All,
If it were possible to remain the All,
Yet being all, could also be perfect man,
This would be Supreme Attainment
Before which everything else would quickly subside.
Ah! the true Sadhu, the perfect Sadhu,
Who owns nothing yet owns all things,
Who has no wealth, whose wealth is not restricted,
Who has no abiding place, whose home is everywhere,
Who without ties is yet attached to all,
Bounded and free, held and liberated,
Who depends on no manifested being,
Though all may lean on him.
Namo! the true Sadhu, the perfect Sadhu,
Whose touch is heaven yet in whom are all hells,
Who is master and servant of all that exists,
Before him deva and naraka are one,
Free from the wheel, untouched by caste,
Never without want, never in want,
Filled and empty and ever filling,
Who can say what he is, is not.
Om! the true Sadhu, the perfect Sadhu!
Who is the king of kings and slave of slaves,
In penury he rants, in satiety he grasps,
Completely still and ever active,
The restless wanderer in tranquility,
Who is Ananda, yet is Shanti, either and both,
Whose Is-ness is Naught-ness, whose No-Self, All-being,
Thus Mukti, thus Salvation, thus Nirvana!
O that placid lake of perfect stillness,
Found within the temple of our being,
When proper meditation stabilizes being,
And the perturbations cease to function,
Above all the activities of this samsara,
Yet also united to unceasing movement,
The giant sitting on the lotus-plant,
Unaffected by the storms that rock the waters,
Unaffected by anything at all.
Beloved, no lecture is ever Yoga,
No sermon is any conquering of the devil,
No exhortation soothes the aching heart,
No outer effort has ever brought one to mastery,
For the meditative impulse is unaffected
By all the storms and strife of nervous samsara,
And in the self are all the kingdoms
From naraka up to deva, or down again,
Beyond which is the true Being of the Self,
Shining, undisturbed, all-powerful,
All-gracious, all wise and all-sufficient,
Ever there though multi-shadowed
By the attractions of this ceaseless universe.
Peace … and let the silence of inner being
Overcome the noises from outside.
Peace … and let the music of inner being
Shout in the ears like a lion’s roar or cat’s yawn.
Peace … and let the cosmic harmonies
Impress themselves upon the personality;
Peace … and let the All display the All
Assuring the difference between delusion and reality.
Peace … let there be nothing but this Peace,
That Ocean-of-Stillness replete with Universal Delight,
Sate-Chit-Ananda … be It as you are It,
No more lectures, no more talk, no commentaries,
From It rise everything, to It all return,
No more, Siva, all Mahaish! That thou art, Tat Twam Asi.
What is this Mahabharata?
What this sacred land of India?
This distillation of prithivi
Where the vibrations of the highest find a home.
What is this most sacred river Ganga?
The channel for the perfuming of apas.
What are these mighty ranges of Himalayas?
These bold upliftings seining vayu,
Where vayu and akasha may commingle.
What are these altar fires which sadhus build?
Accommodations for wondrous tejas-agni,
Whose sacred flames are tokens for the devotees.
O Devotes of Saivism, Awaken!
Awaken to Thy Glory Who Are Gods,
Not Sleepless, Unilluminated Asuras—
Though Clothed With Earth, You Can Partake of Heavens,
To That Which Extends Even Beyond Devaloka—
This Is the Endless Blessing I Have Given,
Drossless You Can Emancipate Yourselves.
This is not a Yoga of the beginning,
It is not a Yoga of advanced processes,
It is a Yoga of attainment,
A yoga of God through God in God—
Thus supreme over all other types of Yoga,
Verily it is the only Yoga-in-the-Yoga.
The qualities may be obtained through breath,
The qualities may awaken in the heart,
The qualities are lurking in the Person,
With the left nostril wisely,
With the right nostril powerful,
With the controlled breath, and even more
Controlling all perturbations of ego,
More than the mere attainment of siddhis,
The devotee becomes an Avatar,
Exhibiting the godhead on this plane.
Purified and liberated, I felt the pain of every man,
Thus could extend the mercy and healing power,
Thus could assist in forestalling and curing disease,
Thus could tranquilize disharmonies among men,
Even to prevent wars when all else failed.
The breath became as refined as any infant’s,
The emotions becalmed as the more placid pool,
The gentleness brought strength, the power mercy,
Until at last the conscious could not be constrained,
Prakriti barriers no longer held me in,
Even the mind could not hold to its place,
Until there was no choice but to withdraw,
To function through and from a higher sphere.
Yet I did abandon consciously
So died without dying who already had been dead,
For dying to self was I beyond the coils of Yama,
Completing the life, the death, the resurrection.
I knew the suffering of every creature,
The beating heart within the mother’s breast,
The anguish of the sobbing, little child,
The wonders and the ambitions of the young,
The laughter and the frustrations that they bore,
And all the longings, amazements and emotions—
Every feeling was mine,
And yet not mine, who could see beyond this maze.
Eternally there may be a living person
Who guards the threshold of the mysteries,
Taking upon himself humanity’s burdens,
Concentrating all his efforts to alleviate
The harsh and sorrowful troubles of the world,
Thus to break the tantalizations of this karma
Which is but beauty veiled in our misgivings,
With which the world itself was first created:
Thus is man delivered, verily is he delivered.
This Jnana Yoga is not for pleasure seekers,
Nor any abiding place for dualists,
Nor for so-called teachers who do not feel
In universal harmony with their disciples.
When the imperfect disappears,
The perfect is ubiquitous, untrammeled,
One does not see through glasses darkly,
There is no longer darkness anywhere,
Universal brightness becomes known,
Divine qualities not separate from phenomena,
And knowledge comes through union with the All,
No self, no other than self, no more words:
Lo, God Is Here, Directly Here, Now, Ever.
I would cut the hells from earths,
I would cut the hells from minds,
I would bring man from his childishness,
And most of all from intellectual fog,
Without banning or forbidding or preventing,
For nothing else is but the All-in-All.
O Saivites, cast away superstitions,
Deny me not, but realize within yourself
Though I was what I was, I am what I am,
And ever shall be and nothing more or else.
O India, My India! What crimes committed on thy soil!
Bruised by invaders from near or distant lands,
Bled unto thee and with thee then have died,
Caught in that same tamasic mesh,
And assimilated who have conquered thee,
Hating first, then coming to love thy works,
Even the superstitions they have loathed.
O India! My India! Awaken to thy heroes:
Ashoka, Harsha, Vikra-Maharaj,
Chaitanya, Akbar, inspiring Kalisads,
Kabir, Nagarjuna, Ramakrishna,
And great still the Buddha and Sankaracharya.
They rise, they give, you commemorate their names
To all again into that deadly apathy
Until some further great one liberate—
No! That was not, this is not the way.
O India! My India! What crimes committed in thy name!
Priests assuming what was never taught,
Smitris of legalistic fiction,
Outweighing srutis breathed by holy men;
High concoctions then paraded as Yogas,
With outward poverty especially reverenced
And clowns considered holy, idiots blessed
And charlatans arraigned as the great illumined.
O India! My India! Awaken to thy self!
Discard these self-appointed ugly beasts,
Swamis never disciplined, sadhus quite untrained,
And Yogins knowing not the least of Yogas,
Promising multifarious rewards,
To fawners who would cringe before their presence,
Who elevate dark magic above true mysticisms,
And delight in glamor and strange wonder-working,
Until the noble name of Bharata is held low—
These ignorant have served the devils well
Who serve pretending to follow in My path.
O India! My India! For you I would give all
Cast off the poverty of mind and body,
Clear out your many parasites but most
Rid your land of ignorance and superstition,
That enslave thee even more than did the Turk.
Return and progress, these two are one,
The same opportunities as heretofore,
The same eternal hope of deliverance,
Poverty is not required, not ignorance,
Your hidden wealths but come forth from their caves,
And long preserved lamps from their hiding places.
Reformers, awaken, the day is come,
You have the powers to emancipate yourselves,
Spirituality first, and all else will arrange
Itself into a proper pattern to mutual benefit;
In the midst of politics, do not forget your soul,
And treat your people as the scriptures hold,
Not as the encrusted habits have declared.
Scions of Bharata! Return to Dharma and to pure Saddharma,
This long perennial wisdom, well preserved,
That the life in books become the life in hearts—
You need no more teachings, only practice;
No more holy scriptures, only their fulfillment;
Nor more religions, only supreme activity.
Let the masses learn: before God there is no outcaste.
Let the woman learn: before God there is no sex.
Let the foreigners learn: before God no Mlecchas.
Let the whole world learn: before God there is no absence.
Verily, this is Jnana Yoga,
This is it, aye, this it is.
Om! Hari Om! … Om! Hari Om! … Om! Hari Om!
The jiva has become merged with the Great Soul,
On every side there is nothing but the Atman,
The heart has been dissolved in the Great Heart
Without ceasing to function as a little heart.
Now the manas has become all buddhi,
And there is no dominating ahankara,
And every utterance is a breaking of ocean-stillness,
And every power is a fragment of all movement,
When virtue is boundless, love fully requited,
Then not a movement is lost,
Then not an effort is wasted,
Then silence and speech equally communicate.
Let one tell of what one has experienced,
Let us know what that which has been revealed,
Let us unveil the obvious and unfathomable alike.
I blew upon the conch and called to man,
Listening even to the sounds that came from the conch,
For that Secret Doctrine which is neither secret nor doctrine,
Which certainly is not a religion of diverse creeds,
And even less a philosophy of this and that,
For nothing is so abhorable as metaphysics
In the unabandoned efforts to make known
The superverbal, the supermaterial, the super-egoic—
Yet nothing is really hidden, nothing unknowable,
Only not in the terms, the phases and phrases
Which can only possibly pertain to man’s little sphere.
There is a Universal Harmony and All Embracing Love,
Containing the lost Ineffable Word on the bosom of music,
And when in the high Samadhi heart and heart-of-God are one,
From the radiating heart all manners of sound arise,
The tinkling of bells, the rush of running water,
The echo of the conch, the rippling of the vina,
The noises of fire and thunder and wind,
And beyond the ceaseless-Soundless-sound which keeps on and on,
Which every one may hear but few recognize
For religion and philosophy and metaphysics
Set up curtains and veils, and only a little child,
Unaffected by this overevaluated babble
Still retains the pristine consciousness
To recognize, not to lie, never to pretend he knows
That which he cannot present to others—
For no man has the salvation or liberation
Who cannot free others equally to himself,
And all are deceived who divide the whole humanity,
However they divide they are self-deceived,
The unity continues, the cosmic harmony persists
The underlying notes of Samsara reveil the Godhead.
Puerile are all lectures on Jnana-Yoga,
Read them and throw them away and look within,
Listen within, hear within, be the within—
From these beatings come every rhythm that has ever been,
Whatever the form in arithmetical structure,
Whatever the stresses or the counter-movements,
Simple or complex or composite,
These are all expressions of the beating-heart of Prakriti,
And the radiating heart which houses Purusha,
Whence the play and interplay gives melody and rhythm,
And from these musics Ragas, the themes coming from the heart;
And in the counterbalance to the Raga
The Ragina comes in very different form,
Whose motive is quite distinct, its aspects separate,
Expressing how Shiva seeks Shakti and Shakti Shiva,
Thus Raga and Ragina are wed, producing Putra,
And the karma of Putra in turn gives rise to Bharja,
And from these come all the themes of sacred music,
Extant in Arya varata even from ancient times,
But this was not enough, nay this is not enough,
For in the bosom of Akasha is Silence
And in the bosom of Silence is Akasha—
The silence cannot be known as sound
But Akasha may come and intermingle in every note.
It is Vayu that inspired the instrumentation,
Vayu which activates flute and horn and conch,
Vayu brings the life and wit and inspiration
But Tejas and Apas and Prithivi add their qualities,
Whether in the instrument or voice of man.
So every Raga is a living symbol,
A treasure chest of spirituality,
A gift which is never lost by giving,
Of which Gayan is truly art and science,
So it was, even from the time I walked the earth.
In later ages I made this known to Narada,
Not by any tongue-to-ear communication,
But by the meditative method of Mantra Yoga,
That through the sacred sound the heart would soar,
The Limited reach out into the Ineffable,
The Samadhi consciousness and lower stages
So intertwine, that were no more separation—
God was man and man was God—Tat Twam Asi.
That simple Om, so inspiring and profound,
That simple Om, which removes the trammels of the ego,
That simple Om, the key to the divine Mother,
That simple Om ……
So the jap was devised, even a single syllable,
Which the chela must intone in his devotions,
Repeating, repeating, repeating,
With all his heart’s concentration,
Until he becomes the very mantram himself.
There is no other samadhi than this becoming,
This rising out of selfhood into allhood,
This looking back on the world as if its savior.
You will find my symphony congealed at Angkwor,
And in the vast jungles of Cambodia are still retained,
More evidence of the spiritual in the heart of Prakriti,
And the time will come when devotees again
Shall utilize this music as the way, the means, the goal,
Not restricted as philosophy or religion,
But as art, as science, as human experience.
The All-life is in that vast ocean-of-stillness,
From whose rippling bosom come endless sounds,
Tuned to innumerable pitches and vibrations,
Characterized by motley qualities,
Every vibration carrying its life, its force, its will,
Which different vibrations produce the harmonies together,
And from them brotherhood and society and mutual enterprise.
Every human heart is attuned to particular tones,
And none of these tones is bereft of qualities,
According to which virtues each person’s nature,
Each one’s longings, purposes and aptitudes,
Restricted when one considers himself as separate
Unlimited when the bondage of ego is broken.
Now let your souls be still and your attention be fixed
Upon this tremendous, all-pervading cosmos,
Keep up this concentrative meditation,
And listen to the conch-shell held to your ear,
Then listen with the finger to the ear,
Then listen, and withhold and listen without,
Lo, God is here, and God is there, God is everywhere,
Nada Brahma, the Sound of God, the All is the Word.
Lovers of music and lovers of life—listen!
In the beginning was the ineffable Sound,
That all-compiled word encased in music,
Surrounded by endless chains of harmonical tones,
For God is Music as He is Love and Life and Light,
And if you want to appreciate the God,
The way of intonation is supreme,
Pursued for many centuries by devotees
Who chanted the sacred japs and created Ragas,
Wherein they could draw almost endless inspirations
Giving rise to poetry and literature,
But among the unlettered to dancing, instruments
And the fine arts which end in temple building.
The echo of that stillness is in the conch,
A living instrument made from an animal,
Therefore superior to those of human shaping,
Whose capacities are limited in this sense.
The Mantra Yoga may be supreme
In attuning the heart of man to the heart of God,
In sensitizing the causal body within,
Thus to awaken those deva-qualities so long asleep,
Bringing the kingdom of the heavens to this earth,
In a literal objective form, in fact,
That the body and the mind of every one
May be healed and blessed and invigorated,
Now, and ever and ever and ever and evermore.
The Dance of Shiva
The universal beating heart which love betokens
Fills all space and the interstices between,
Turns maelstromic chaos into vibrant, harmonious cosmos,
Causes all causes and their secondary movements,
Each with its purposes, its functions, its peculiarities
So that the Grand Being is One Complete and Perfect Whole;
Complete in all Its parts, perfect in Its intentions,
Leaving freedom even for that which seems
Most antagonistic and despicable
And apparently destined to war against Its essence—
Thus there is ample room for every type of creature,
Seen or unseen though they be to man,
Man who has been created specially to attain
To supreme consciousness and omniscience,
To recognize this ever beating heart of love and light,
To know himself and it as one, possess the knowledge
Of its inseparable parts, sectioned by vibrational ranges
But still elements of the Ultimate of Ultimates.
God asleep, God awake, God dreaming,
God resting, God creating, God absorbing;
All this and more which is beyond our ken,
Nor effected by spheres of conditioned existence.
The basis of religion and philosophy rests in this,
But they alone may not bring the realization
That man by man through man does not reach perfection
But man through God-in-man can never fail.
I danced to prove this ultimate attainment,
Danced before man, danced before God, danced before myself,
Depicting all things, essences, entities and forms
And gave the metaphysics through the silent arts,
Basis of that mighty civilization disappeared
From Angkwor and other lands of the Mons and Khmers
Who carried my message and teachings on for centuries
Not in books, not in intellectual mysteries,
But through the constant engraving of the human heart
As learned by myself and taught by myself to man.
Weaving this into my celebrated dance
I portrayed everything that is to be portrayed,
Revealed the deepest mysteries of existence,
Manifested the unmanifest and veiled the obvious,
Impregnating others with the way of holiness through beauty
And joy through the beauty of holiness—
This in the dance, aye! This in the sacred dance.
Sleep, sleep; He was asleep;
The cosmos was not, not even asleep.
Nothing was then but that beating heart,
Sleep, sleep, the heart was beating,
Systole, diastole, the heart was beating,
So it was, so it continued,
Heart beat, then breathing,
Breathing and heart beat—
Om! the sound of its breath—
Hari! the radiation of its life—
Hu! the light of its silence—
Light spreading light, love radiating love,
Rhythm upon rhythm where nothing else was,
Not even this, certainly not that.
The breath fostered movement,
The sound fostered spaceness,
The light was permeating
Out of the source and back to the source,
First vibrations giving place to coarser,
But all was asleep until in the difference
Of finer and coarser a disturbance came
And in this disturbance God dreamed:
Purusha loved Prakriti, Prakriti yearned for Purusha,
So He made them: Purusha and Prakriti together,
They loved one another,
Thus moved the light,
Thus beat the heart
Thus pulsed the breath
And the man planes moved out from Om ……
The planes moved out when the breath moved out,
The planes returned when the breath returned,
While love sustained them all.
God first asleep, God next adreaming, then God awoke,
Asleep, adreaming, awake, eternally, everywhere.
So was the unseen, so the seen,
Nirvana to herenow and return,
For God, awakening, produced His dream,
Out of which both the unformed and formed,
The breath of the Lord bringing the earth,
The strength of His spirit the heavens:
Masses rose and disappeared
Mountains heaved and fell and heaved again,
Waves flared out and back to the ocean,
Thus came the continents, then the depths,
But the spirit found no repose.
Above was Akasha and from it the elements,
Earth and water and fire in their turn,
Then air to impregnate life,
Each with its forms, its rhythms, its colors,
With play and exchange in every direction,
From the highest to the lowest, in, out and round,
And so it continued and so it continues,
Through all the aeons and aeons of aeons.
For the vibrating cosmos is its Lord in delight
In rhythms of two, three, four and more,
In counter-rhythms and rhythms of rhythms,
Caught in the form of the body of movement,
Where the arms and legs keep pace to the music
Changing the pace according to the element,
Altering the element according to the pace,
And all in warm delight and charm
Where power joins with beauty in supporting the cosmos.
God’s bosom heaved as he saluted and leaped
While all the world was dancing alone,
Though in truth God never left his haven-akasha,
That unseen, transcendent power of powers,
That ocean-of-stillness, beyond and yet here,
So that movement and stillness go on simultaneously,
Turning the distant stars in their courses,
Modifying the galaxies of our outer space,
Producing the waves and the tides and the season,
The changes of flora, the instincts of fauna,
The uncertain moods of all human beings—
These form the dance, these in the endless dance.
Then Purusha brought down the melodies, ragas,
In which there was thought surmounted on feeling,
In which there was harmony, charm, skill and grace,
For nothing could be that was lacking in meaning,
Covering the universes with countless blessings,
Right in this herenow, yet belonging to infinity,
Still closer than closeness, being of self.
So, I, Siva, became this God,
In that dance being that, there was nothing else,
And my arms and legs and torso portray
In each illustration some cosmic attribute,
Reflected in the symbols I hold in my arms
Representative of cosmic and psychic expressions
As well as of forces that utilize the flesh.
O men of India who consider cattle holy,
Who decorate the kine but call the outcaste lowly,
In the sacred dance the consciousness is raised,
In the sacred dance the Lord of lords is praised.
But only man is fit to perform the sacred trance,
Only man can enter into the sacred dance…
Brahmans, to whom cows are holy, go, dwell with the kine,
But Brahman, Sudra, outcaste, Mleccha, come, you all are mine.
Come all who would be mine, let me show
You the mysteries of union through endless joy,
The experience of bliss within the flesh,
The experience of peace within the mind,
The excellency of music and of art,
The quest through beauty and wisdom all fulfilled,
Which is the beginning, end and aim
For all the teachings communicated to humanity—
Let Me More of Shankars and Less of Priests,
Shankars for Humanity and Pundits for the Beasts,
Not That the Cow Is Less in Worthiness
But Man Is More and Him I Bless.
Thus God awoke and in His dance did substantiate
The universe and its multitude of facets,
Took of Himself the grosser parts to make the earth,
The subtle parts to create the unseen,
Sustained them by His breath and Perfect Love
So that harmony may reign supreme on every plane,
Yet gave to man a will to be independent
Both of the Lord Himself and of that karma
Which carries all imperfection in its grasp.
All laws of the many sciences are derived
From these incessant cosmic harmonies,
Impressed as such upon the mind and consciousness
But realized when, as in the dance, man portrays God—
So meditation, concentration and Yoga
Are conjoined with art and beauty and skillfulness,
That the divine in man approach the divine in the universe
Until one is merged in the other, self-and not-self together—
The culmination of the love of Siva and Shakti.
The Watcher Is the Prayerful Devotee,
But the Dancer Becomes Divine.
Abhidharma—Deep philosophical elucidations of Buddhist doctrines.
Akasha—Space or Ether, the first of the five elements (ether, air, fire, water and earth) said to constitute the universe. Akasha is that pure capacity of space which is the source and goal of the other elements.
Arsha—That which constitutes the true riches.
Arya varata—The land of the Aryans or the Hindus.
Aryavartans—The inhabitants of that land.
Asoka—Emperor of India and enlightened Buddhist (259-222 B.C.) His reign was remarkable in its peace and fullness of culture.
Atman—The Self in all beings.
Avatar—Exhibiting the Godhead on this plane (from the Sanskrit Avatarah “a descent”), perfected beings, individual incarnations or humanizations of the Spirit of the Universe.
Bharata-land—India, the land of the descendants of Bharata, one of their great patriarchs whose story is told in the Mahabharata.
Bharja—Daughter-in-law (ref. music).
Brahma—The Supreme all-inclusive Godhead. Sometimes spoken of in a different context as the creative aspect of God as compared with the preserving and assimilating aspects.
Buddha—“Enlightened One.” A title given to Siddhartha Gautama upon his attainment of perfect enlightenment.
Buddhi—The pure light of absolute consciousness. Illumination.
Chaitanya—An enlightened devotee of Sri Krishna, known for his inspired kirtans.
Devaloka—The Celestial Region or Abode of the Devas or gods.
Devas—Angels, gods or “shining ones.”
Dharma—The way; righteous duty (skr) or Universal Light which illuminates every man.
Gandharvas—Celestial musicians. Spirits on the fragrant mountains, so called because they do not drink wine or eat meat, but feed on incense and give off fragrant odors.
Ganga—The Ganges River.
Harsha—(606-647) Emperor of India. Unlike Asoka he attained his victories through conquest rather than moral suasion. He became a Buddhist toward the end of his life.
Hatha Yoga—One of many yogas, or methods of Union with the Supreme. It requires mastery of asanas and the physical body.
Himavat—The Himalayas, “The Abode of the Snows.”
Ishwara—(Sanskrit) “Lord.” In Hinduism, God as omnipotent, omniscient Creator. Also a title given to Lord Shiva as a personified aspect of the Divine.
Jiva—The individual soul which is understood as being one with All-Soul.
Jnana Yoga—Union with Brahman through wisdom.
Kabir—(1440-1518) Great Sufi saint and poet. A weaver by profession. Known for his mystical poems.
Kailasa—The sacred mountain. Said to be the Abode of Shiva.
Kama Yoga—Completion through desire.
Karma—Law of cause and effect (skr) “As you sow, so shall you reap.”
Karma Yoga—Union through action; selfless service (skr).
Kundalini—The coiled-up or residual Cosmic or Divine energy at the base of the spine.
Lingam-Shakta—Cosmic creative force which in this instance passes through man’s procreative organ.
Mahabharata—The epic poem of India of which the Bhagavad Gita is only a part. The story of Bharata, one of India’s great patriarchs and his family and times.
Mahaish—One of the names of Shiva, as transcendental reality.
Mana—The food from heaven with which the Hebrew people were fed in the desert.
Manas—(skr) mind, the reflective principle (the deliberative principle). The word “man” comes from manas.
Mantra Yoga—Union through the repetition of sacred sounds.
Manusha—Mental realm (skr).
Maya—(skr) That which is limited. Seen as the world of appearance, phenomena, change.
Mons and Khmers—The ancient peoples of Cambodia.
Mudri—Movement or gesture which expresses meaning.
Mukti—Liberation, freedom from the wheel of becoming.
Nadia—Tubes, vessels or channels through which something flows, either liquid or the current of a force.
Nagarjuna—Enlightened Buddhist sage.
Narada—An enlightened Hindu sage who appears through time and came to Valmiki and told him the history of Rama’s life, which became the epic Ramayana.
Naraka—Personification of a subhuman state in Hindu and Buddhist cosmology (skr).
Nirvana—The unconditioned state; gone beyond gone (skr).
Pitris—Denizens of the heavens; akin to the Gandharvas.
Prakriti—Nature; the Mother (skr). The essential stuff out of which our material universe has been created.
Pretas—Ghosts, hungry ghosts.
Prithivi—The earth element.
Pundits—Writers who have an influence on the people.
Purusha—Spirit (Universal Breath) in contrast to Prakriti (matter) (skr). The pure potentiality of the unmanifest as all-pervading.
Putra—Son (ref. music).
Ragina—The female raga.
Raja Yoga—The union of man with God through mind energy in the mode of activity.
Rakahasa—The demonic, malignant spirits in Hindu and Buddhist cosmology (skr).
Ramakrishna—The God-realized universal saint of modern India.
Rudra—A name of Shiva.
Sadhu—A Hindu religious mendicant, dependent on alms for his sustenance.
Saivism—The followers of Shiva, as a religious movement.
Samsara—The endless cycle of becoming. Ignorance.
Sat-Chit-Ananda—“Truth, Consciousness, Bliss” as one supreme reality.
Shankaracharya—Incarnation of Shiva; the first sannyasi and founder of the Swami Order (skr). The commentator and exponent of the non-dualistic school of philosophy who lived in India about the 8th century, A.D.
Shankara—Another name of Shankaracharya.
Shankars—Later leaders in the school of Shankaracharya.
Shastras—Moral teachings in scriptural form.
Shiva—One of the Avatars of India, Lord of the Yogis and the Dancer of the whole universe.
Shiva / Shakti—Spirit/Power (skr).
Siddhis—Accomplishments, powers, faculties.
Silpa—Shastras of later years based on Shiva’s teachings.
Smitris—The body of legal rulings developed over time or sanctified by tradition.
Sruti—Hearing, revelation, “the Vedas.” The Vedas that were transmitted orally from father to son.
Sudra—Members of the lowest caste, but not outcastes.
Tamas—The guna, or rhythm, or inertia, decay.
Tantra Yoga—Conscious transformation of life energy; often mis-represented in the West (skr).
Tat Twam Asi—“That Thou art” (skr). Self and God are seen without separation. Ultimate statement of oneness in monism.
Tattvas—Mystical Elements. The Great Breath gives to Prakriti five sorts of elementary extension—each has a distinct form or vibration. Outwardly, they manifest as ether, air, fire, water and earth.
Tejas—Agni, the fire element.
Tirthaga-Yoni—More denizens of the lower planes according to Hindu cosmology.
Vayu—The air element, breath.
Vedic—Referring to the Vedas, the oldest of the Hindu sacred writings.
Vishnu—The preserver or second aspect of the Hindu trinity, who takes care of the universe, and who incarnates from time to time to preserve righteousness and to help mankind.
Yakshas—Supernatural beings attendant on Kuvera. Demons in the earth, air and lower heavens.
Yantra Yoga—Supreme union through symbolic activity as in sacred art.
Yoga—“Union” (skr). Union with God, often associated with certain techniques for its attainment.
Yoni-Shakti—The cosmic creative force which through the reproductive capacity in woman is the focus of the assimilation of life in things.