Kundalini Splendor

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

poem by Ravi Das 

By now, the flood waters have receded a great deal--it seems that Boulder was spared the ravages of some of the surrounding communities.  This favorable result is said to be attributable to the efforts of a Colorado University professor of some years back, who saw that it was important not to allow the land immediately adjacent to the city (against the mountains) to become the prey of the developers, but to keep it in as pristine condition as possible.  Some neighboring cities were not so fortunate--the developers came in, had no restraints placed on their projects, and now the cities are devastated.

I went for a long walk today--and saw that indeed there was mud in the gutters, broken asphalt in the streets, and signs that the creeks had risen several feet above their normal level.  But on the whole, all is well and the damage to the city can be repaired.

The area affected by the flooding is now said to equal the size of Delaware--it is 200 miles from one end to the other.  Indeed, it is a "Biblical" disaster.

I find I feel lucky for small (or large) favors.  A friend took me grocery shopping yesterday and I stocked up fully.  Today I was able to purchase other "sundries" from
Target, the large shopping outlet about a mile from my house.  Little by little, things are
getting back to "normal."

One of my purchases I was especially grateful for was several packets of "stickums."  These are essential for me in order to prepare my next volume, which is to be entitled (at least for now)  "Living with Buddha, Poems Selected and New."  I am revealing this intention here in the hopes that doing so will inspire me to carry through on this project.  "Stickums" may seem like a minor concern, but if you run out when you are trying to assemble a "selected" volume, it can be extremely frustrating.  And--without a car--such items can be difficult to obtain.

When I existed

By Ravidas
(1398? - 1448?)

English version by Nirmal Dass

When I existed,
You did not.
Now You exist
and I do not:
as a storm lifts waves
from water --
still they are water
within water.

O Madho,
how can we describe
this illusion?
What we believe does not exist.

A mighty king sleeps
on his throne
and in his dream
becomes a beggar.
Seeing his kingdom vanish
before him
he greatly mourns --
such is our condition.

Like the tale
of the serpent
and the rope --
I know a little
of the secret.
Seeing many bracelets
we think gold has many forms --
but it is always forever gold.

In all things
exists the Lord,
assuming countless shapes;
in each pore he plays and sports.
Ravi Das says,
He is nearer than my hand.
All that comes to pass
is by His will alone.

(This poem expresses what we are told over and over in many ways--what we observe and imagine is simply maya--reality is covered by this veil of illusion--all is the god/goddess in myriad shapes and forms and we are part of the passing procession of images.  The serpent and the rope refer to an ancient tale of India, about a man who mistakes a rope for a serpent.  Thus do we mistake illusion for reality.
When we undergo Kundalini awakening, we experience the truth of the line "in each pore he plays and sports," and know that "reality" is very different from what we may have supposed.")

(Be dry and well and grateful, everyone!)

(poem and image from Poetry Chaikhana)
-- from Songs of the Saints from the Adi Granth, Translated by Nirmal Dass

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