Abyss of Bliss
You won’t need to drag me
Kicking and screaming
Into your Abyss of Bliss, this time,
For Mischievous Maya, Mistress of Illusion
Wielding her magical weapons of Desire and Fear
Has spun me dizzy in her Wheel of Madness
And now I am ready to burn.
You don’t need to warn me again that
This precious human life is ephemeral,
A snowflake beneath a blazing sun—
One taste of Your honey-sweet amrita, O Arunachala-Shiva.
Has turned the tide of eons of insanity
And reduced me to a hooked and gasping fish—
Now I am ready to burn.
Lash me with the jeweled Whip of Jnana, O Arunachala-Shiva.
Incinerate that infuriating sense of ‘I, me and mine’,
And dissolve me into the blissful and immortal Self—
For Maya’s cruel antics have torn me to bloody pieces
And I have sunk to my knees, sobbing and helpless
A trillion times in countless incarnations.
And now I am ready to burn.
No, You won’t have to drag me
Kicking and screaming
Into your Abyss of Bliss, Sweet Lord of the Cosmos.
For Maya, Mistress of Illusion
Armed with her Weapons of Desire & Fear.
Has spun me in her Wheel of Madness for too long
And now I am ready to burn.
If You Were A Human Lover, O Arunachala
I would accuse you of being devious and more.
But you are Shiva the Destroyer
Who has taken the form of a Hill
Vowing to destroy all that obstructs me from the gnosis
That I AM the cosmos in human form,
Sat-Chit-Ananda, Existence-Consciousness and Bliss.
You wield a jeweled whip, O Arunachala-Shiva
And Your ways are seductive beyond belief.
Knowing I would not dare to hurl myself
Into your molten embrace of my own volition,
You evoked such intense suffering within my heart
That, when the call came to visit you,
I had no choice but to obey.
Seven years ago,
In the aftermath of being lashed for hours by a furious thunderstorm
As I circled your wondrous form,
Illness struck me down.
Forced to lie still, I contemplated your shimmering contours from my window.
Seventeen days later I was strong enough
To walk out into the dawn loveliness of Tiruvannamalai
As wild peacocks rent the air with their mournful shrieks
And cotton ball clouds scudded across a vast blue summer sky.
It was then that I gazed up at you in shattered wonder,
Realizing You had trapped me forever in your cosmic net.
Your vow to incinerate that insidious sense of mini-me
That had caused me untold pain in untold eons, became suddenly clear.
As your blazing love enveloped me,
I began to weep in the honey-sweet relief of surrender.
You are the Wild God that predates the Vedas and the Upanishads!
You are Mighty Rudra, the Howler who threatened Brahma the Creator
With destruction if he ravished the celestial damsel Ushas –
She, who is the radiant Goddess of Dawn.
Precious refuge from the cruel storms of Samsara,
I beg you to finish the work you began so long ago.
Hold me close in your fiery embrace, O Arunachala-Shiva
And reduce my false self to ashes.
Fleeing Manhattan after fourteen sizzling years
Of mixed joys, sorrows and growing ennui
I find myself in northern India for the first time.
In Varanasi, a guide masquerading as a passerby
Leads me through winding thousand year old gullies
To where the dignified son of an astrologer
An astrologer himself
In good standing with the International Society of Krishna Consciousness
As he proudly informs me
Reads my future —
Warns me of bad health if I don’t change my evil ways
Of a young lover who will succor me
Of muse-like women who will cherish me all the days of a long life —
At which point he offers me a silver talisman—for only three hundred rupees!
To dilute the savage glare of Ketu, the malign planet.
Bihar sucks me into its vortex of enchanting beauty and incredible filth
Even as revolting odors mingle with clouds of incense.
In Bodhgaya, where Shakyamuni became
One of those Gone to Bliss, a Tathagatha
I stand paralyzed as hordes of ghostly beggar children
Assail me as I try to distribute a bag of indian sweets –
Frenetic clamoring shameless bottomless pits
Of suffering and longing.
Were these the children of the buddhas
Emanating to remind me that this is a broken realm?
I am humbled by a cloud of unknowing.
I cannot commit to anything, to anyone!
Even he, who has led me here, alive and kicking
As he spouts his unique version of dharma
Is, to my own impure eyes, flawed —
A great diamond with a frightening flaw.
And so I come full circle
Back to this ancient sacred land of burning ghats
Where beggar girls sell leaf boats bedecked with golden marigolds
That pilgrims buy to set float on the Mother Ganges
And impoverished temple guides bargain slyly for a better price.
On crooked cobbled streets I see horrors beyond my capacity to bear —
Crippled children with broken legs and great shining eyes
Puddles of stagnant filth and black hogs rooting in muck and slime
An old Tibetan monk falls over a granite ledge and bloodies his nose
Somewhere the plaintive notes of a sitar break through the dark night
And I recall strange bliss and sweetness
Coupled with a boundless generosity of spirit.
Share your wealth or die!
Break down the walls of me and mine
Or become one of the living dead
Constrained from growth
Like a tender precious bud
Forbidden to reach towards the light.
There is magic in India
Drums that beat incessantly
Shattering the fragile boundaries
I have developed in the polite brutal “civilized” west.
I seek the single drummer
To whose beat my feet will truly dance
And melt forever
Into primordial yoga.
Abode of the Gods
My new nest in Dharamsala sits facing the Himalayas —
On one side, bare mountain, sprinkled with rustic homes,
On the other, luscious green wooded slopes glinting with waterfalls.
In my room, spacious but icy cold
I have only the naked stirrings of comfort.
Here I plan to grow in deep ways
Channelling my creative energy in spiritual ways
To the brilliant end of seeing shunyata directly.
A high ambition
For which I beseech the aid of dakas and dakinis
And my root gurus, known and unknown.
I seek a Satguru to lead me into paths
As high as the Himalayas themselves, and way beyond:
GATE GATE PARAGATE
Here, in this strange new world of ice and storm,
My only friend is a wild and mewling kitten
Rescued from a sparkling mound of snow right outside my iron gate
A stream of consciousness carrying awful karma —
An infant abandoned by her feral mother to die, bewildered and alone.
And yet the lamas teach me there is no coincidence,
And that absolutely nothing happens by accident.
I must plug my spirit into the eternal consciousness
The ultimate reality of shunyata
Always and forever
For I too am not here to die alone —
And the same force that guides the stars guides me too.
The Dalai Lama says–never give up!
One way or another
I AM on my way to enlightenment.
As you promised, O Ramana,
Hidden cleverly by cosmic design
In my invisible heart of hearts
Is blossoming, even as this traitorous body
Composed of flesh marrow blood and bone
Sits quiescent and lotus-legged before you.
Again I feel its incandescent petals unfurl
In a slow and mesmerizing dance
As the howling winds of infinity
Roar across a fecund vastness
The truth that I AM no less than:
Mahaprana! Chaitanya! Ananda!
Ah, how utterly sweet to be enraptured
By one’s own perfect Self!
For KB, Rishikesh 2009
Peace rises fragrant into the air along with stirrings of contentment
It is good to wake up to a world where dreams do germinate
And unicorns flash blinding white horns at bewildered passersby.
These feelings seem to float upward like sandalwood incense
Ever since we first spoke on the telephone —
With the Himalayan foothills listening in, politely concerned
And Goddess Ganga murmuring mellifluously some distance away
Sending maternally auspicious vibrations our way.
So much pleasure and so much pain
So much yearning for what never seemed to materialize
That was my life before you
Wolves waiting hungrily at my rickety door
Not to forget those horribly “high” times
But all in all, let’s face it, mainstream life sucks!
Especially for those who never dare venture out on a dream quest
It will continue to suck until one hacks the secret code to unravel it
Jagged flashes of euphoria mingle with cries of misery —
Three steps forward and four steps back
Raising the bar so high it feels like jack’s beanstalk
I will have to climb all the way up to screw the ogre of my ego
And return with the golden-egg-laying hen of pure consciousness.
Then I must return to the root of my being
To lop off the jungle of poisonous weeds covering
The bloody stalk of my muladhara
And remorselessly allow the castle of outdated fantasies
To come crashing down
So a real palace can be built.
This is a journey of souls who have endured much
Male and female in the relative world
Each uniquely impassioned and different from the herd
Coming together to forge a new equation, a fresh alliance
Recipes for success are inscribed in invisible ink
In the golden book of the gods
Only the omniscient know the future
Still I ask Arunachala-Ramana to keep
A benevolent eye on our motley crew.
I ask for happiness, better yet, bliss
For the haunting notes of a wooden flute at twilight
For harmony towards all
Based on the gnosis that there is only One Source
Of which we are all manifestations
That our true nature is blissful and immortal
And that love is the only medicine that can heal
The brutal see-saw slap and slash
Why does the prince show up only after the princess
Has convinced herself this B-movie has a tragic ending?
Sit Sweetly on God’s Lap
Demanding I walk through fearsome invisible portals
To destroy the very root of thought —
Or continue to exist behind self-constructed prison walls.
Such primordial delusions I harbour within!
Viral codes that forbid me to commune with my own higher consciousness!
Is this the shadow Jung says we must all confront in order to grow in spirit?
If so, I must face it willingly, or it will be thrust upon me, as fate or kismet.
So I sit sweetly on the lap of God —
Not deluding myself I can ever read cosmic mind
Until I know my own higher self to be divine.
The Infinite remains an ineffable mystery to me
And yet I sense the glow of a shy sun rising
In the substratum of my spiritual heart.
In a Manhattan circle of mystical friends
A crone whispered: ‘we are only as sick as we are secret’.
It is our shame-infused secrets that grow, she added,
Into the granite bricks of a private prison
Until our true “I” no longer exists
Masked by layer upon layer of tinsel hypocrisy.
Now back in India decades later
I urge myself to be as I AM against all odds
Declare myself to be no less than the Divine
Clothed temporarily in human flesh
And so set my own bold footprint
On the ephemeral sands of time.
Dharamkot, February 2000
The long steep rocky road from McLeod winds upward
Until we three reach the path
That leads to our snow-bound home in Dharamkot.
Chloe stops to lick the snow
Off tall and silent winter trees;
Eli follows suit, then I too join in
Three sisters of the heart softly giggling.
Enraptured by the silver stillness of a magical night
As delicate timeless starry formations
Hover not too high above our human heads
In a clear Himalayan night sky.
Lie sweet in the sun
My golden one
Let rays of light surround thee
May angelic spirits lead you on
To the highway of a blazing sun
Let me honor love and worship you!
My Golden One!
Splinters of red hot coals —
That’s what this pain feels like
Unrelenting in its assault
On body, mind and nerves.
Yet I know that if I could sink into you —
Slowly, sweetly, deeply
Watch your face as tenderly
As a mother watches her newborn child
Struggling to open its eyes
We would both transform into light.
The Garden of My Consciousness
I chew on your thoughts
And spit them out in my dreams
I awake at dawn, enriched
Once again, you have fertilized
The garden of my consciousness.
In the stillness of night
I awaken and wonder
About this being that I AM.
Eons float past as I watch amazed
The flow of your eternal consciousness.
In this pure moment
All I know is that I AM
And that you are you
In your sublime mystery
Your tender concern
And crazy wisdom.
Let me enter that heaven
Where my thoughts stop whirling like dervishes
Controlling the committee presiding dictatorially over my mind
A sage once said that to meditate on infinity is simple —
Just sink into the gap
Between one thought and the next
Then simply rest in the bliss of vast consciousness.
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