SPIRITUAL POEMS AND WORKS OF MYSTICS, SAGES, POETS
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SPIRITUAL POEMS AND WORKS OF MYSTICS, SAGES, POETS
Verses on the Faith Mind by The 3rd Zen Patriarch, Sengstau
The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent everything becomes clear and undisguised. Make the smallest distinction, however, and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart.
If you wish to see the truth then hold no opinions for or against anything. To set up what you like against what you dislike is the disease of the mind.
When the deep meaning of things is not understood the mind's essential peace is disturbed to no avail.
The Way is perfect like vast space when nothing is lacking and nothing is in excess.
Indeed, it is due to our choosing to accept or reject that we do not see the true nature of things.
Live neither in the entanglements of outer things nor in inner feelings of emptiness.
Be serene in the oneness of things and such erroneous views will disappear by themselves.
When you try to stop activity to achieve passivity your very effort fills you with activity.
As long as you remain in one extreme or the other you will never know Oneness.
Those who do not live in the single Way fail in both activity and passivity, assertion and denial.
To deny the reality of things is to miss their reality; to assert the emptiness of things is to miss their reality.
The more you talk and think about it, the further astray you wander from the truth.
Stop talking and thinking, and there is nothing you will not be able to know.
To return to the root is to find the meaning, but to pursue appearances is to miss the source.
At the moment of inner enlightenment there is a going beyond appearance and emptiness.
The changes that appear to occur in the empty world we call real only because of our ignorance.
Do not search for the truth; only cease to cherish opinions.
Do not remain in the dualistic state -- avoid such pursuits carefully.
If there is even a trace of this and that, of right and wrong, the Mind-essence will be lost in confusion.
Although all dualities come from the One, do not be attached even to this One.
When the mind exists undisturbed in the Way, nothing in the world can offend, and when such a thing can no longer offend, it ceases to exist in the old way.
When no discriminating thoughts arise, the old mind ceases to exist.
When thought objects vanish, the thinking-subject vanishes, as when the mind vanishes, objects vanish.
Things are objects because of the subject (mind); the mind (subject) is such because of things (object).
Understand the relativity of these two and the basic reality: the unity of emptiness.
In this emptiness the two are indistinguishable and each contains in itself the whole world.
If you do not discriminate between coarse and fine you will not be tempted to prejudice and opinion.
To live in the Great Way is neither easy nor difficult, but those with limited views are fearful and irresolute; the faster they hurry, the slower they go, and clinging (attachment) cannot be limited; even to be attached to the idea of enlightenment is to go astray.
Just let things be in their own way and there will be neither coming nor going.
Obey the nature of things (your own nature), and you will walk freely and undisturbed.
When thought is in bondage the truth is hidden, for everything is murky and unclear, and the burdensome practice of judging brings annoyance and weariness.
What benefits can be derived from distinctions and separations?
If you wish to move in the One Way do not dislike even the world of senses and ideas.
Indeed, to accept them fully is identical with true Enlightenment.
The wise man strives to no goals but the foolish man fetters himself.
There is one Dharma, not many; distinctions arise from the clinging needs of the ignorant.
To seek Mind with the (discriminating) mind is the greatest of all mistakes.
Rest and unrest derive from illusion; with enlightenment there is no liking and disliking.
All dualities come from ignorant inference. They are like dreams or flowers in air: foolish to try to grasp them.
Gain and loss, right and wrong: such thoughts must finally be abolished at once.
If the eye never sleeps, all dreams will naturally cease.
If the mind makes no discriminations, the ten thousand things are as they are, of single essence.
To understand the mystery of this One-essence is to be released from all entanglements.
When all things are seen equally the timeless Self-essence is reached.
No comparisons or analogies are possible in this causeless, relationless state.
Consider movement stationary and the stationary in motion, both movement and rest disappear.
When such dualities cease to exist Oneness itself cannot exist.
To this ultimate finality no law or description applies.
For the unified mind in accord with the Way all self-centered striving ceases.
Doubts and irresolutions vanish and life in true faith is possible.
With a single stroke we are freed from bondage; nothing clings to us and we hold to nothing.
All is empty, clear, self-illuminating, with no exertion of the mind's power.
Here thought, feeling, knowledge, and imagination are of no value.
In this world of suchness there is neither self nor other-than-self.
To come directly into harmony with this reality just simply say when doubt arises, 'Not two.'
In this 'not two' nothing is separate, nothing is excluded.
No matter when or where, enlightenment means entering this truth.
And this truth is beyond extension or diminution in time or space; in it a single thought is ten thousand years.
Emptiness here, Emptiness there, but the infinite universe stands always before your eyes.
Infinitely large and infinitely small; no difference, for definitions have vanished and no boundaries are seen.
So too with Being and Non-Being.
Don't waste time with doubts and arguments that have nothing to do with this.
One thing, all things: move among and intermingle, without distinction.
To live in this realization is to be without anxiety about non-perfection.
To live in this faith is the road to non-duality, because the non-dual is one with trusting mind.
The Way is beyond language, for in it there is no yesterday, no tomorrow, no today.
YOGA SUTRAS OF PATANJALI
4.1 Psychic powers arise by birth, drugs, incantations, purificatory acts or concentrated insight.
4.2 Transformation into another state is by the directed flow of creative nature.
4.3 Creative nature is not moved into action by any incidental cause, but by the removal of obstacles, as in the case of a farmer clearing his field of stones for irrigation.
4.4 Created minds arise from egoism alone.
4.5 There being difference of interest, one mind is the director of many minds.
4.6 Of these, the mind born of concentrated insight is free from the impressions.
4.7 The impressions of unitive cognition are neither good nor bad. In the case of the others, there are three kinds of impressions.
4.8 From them proceed the development of the tendencies which bring about the fruition of actions.
4.9 Because of the magnetic qualities of habitual mental patterns and memory, a relationship of cause and effect clings even though there may be a change of embodiment by class, space and time.
4.10 The desire to live is eternal, and the thought-clusters prompting a sense of identity are beginningless.
4.11 Being held together by cause and effect, substratum and object- the tendencies themselves disappear on the dissolution of these bases.
4.12 The past and the future exist in the object itself as form and expression, there being difference in the conditions of the properties.
4.13 Whether manifested or unmanifested they are of the nature of the attributes.
4.14 Things assume reality because of the unity maintained within that modification.
4.15 Even though the external object is the same, there is a difference of cognition in regard to the object because of the difference in mentality.
4.16 And if an object known only to a single mind were not cognized by that mind, would it then exist?
4.17 An object is known or not known by the mind, depending on whether or not the mind is colored by the object.
4.18 The mutations of awareness are always known on account of the changelessness of its Lord, the indweller.
4.19 Nor is the mind self-luminous, as it can be known.
4.20 It is not possible for the mind to be both the perceived and the perceiver simultaneously.
4.21 In the case of cognition of one mind by another, we would have to assume cognition of cognition, and there would be confusion of memories.
4.22 Consciousness appears to the mind itself as intellect when in that form in which it does not pass from place to place.
4.23 The mind is said to perceive when it reflects both the indweller (the knower) and the objects of perception (the known).
4.24 Though variegated by innumerable tendencies, the mind acts not for itself but for another, for the mind is of compound substance.
4.25 For one who sees the distinction, there is no further confusing of the mind with the self.
4.26 Then the awareness begins to discriminate, and gravitates towards liberation.
4.27 Distractions arise from habitual thought patterns when practice is intermittent.
4.28 The removal of the habitual thought patterns is similar to that of the afflictions already described.
4.29 To one who remains undistracted in even the highest intellection there comes the equalminded realization known as The Cloud of Virtue. This is a result of discriminative discernment.
4.30 From this there follows freedom from cause and effect and afflictions.
4.31 The infinity of knowledge available to such a mind freed of all obscuration and property makes the universe of sensory perception seem small.
4.32 Then the sequence of change in the three attributes comes to an end, for they have fulfilled their function.
4.33 The sequence of mutation occurs in every second, yet is comprehensible only at the end of a series.
4.34 When the attributes cease mutative association with awarenessness, they resolve into dormancy in Nature, and the indweller shines forth as pure consciousness. This is absolute freedom.
YOGA SUTRAS OF PATANJALI
on Divine Powers
3.1 One-pointedness is steadfastness of the mind.
3.2 Unbroken continuation of that mental ability is meditation.
3.3 That same meditation when there is only consciousness of the object of meditation and not of the mind is realization.
3.4 The three appearing together are self-control.
3.5 By mastery comes wisdom.
3.6 The application of mastery is by stages.
3.7 The three are more efficacious than the restraints.
3.8 Even that is external to the seedless realization.
3.9 The significant aspect is the union of the mind with the moment of absorption, when the outgoing thought disappears and the absorptive experience appears.
3.10 From sublimation of this union comes the peaceful flow of unbroken unitive cognition.
3.11 The contemplative transformation of this is equalmindedness, witnessing the rise and destruction of distraction as well as one-pointedness itself.
3.12 The mind becomes one-pointed when the subsiding and rising thought-waves are exactly similar.
3.13 In this state, it passes beyond the changes of inherent characteristics, properties and the conditional modifications of object or sensory recognition.
3.14 The object is that which preserves the latent characteristic, the rising characteristic or the yet-to-be-named characteristic that establishes one entity as specific.
3.15 The succession of these changes in that entity is the cause of its modification.
3.16 By self-control over these three-fold changes (of property, character and condition), knowledge of the past and the future arises.
3.17 The sound of a word, the idea behind the word, and the object the idea signfies are often taken as being one thing and may be mistaken for one another. By self-control over their distinctions, understanding of all languages of all creatures arises.
3.18 By self-control on the perception of mental impressions, knowledge of previous lives arises.
3.19 By self-control on any mark of a body, the wisdom of the mind activating that body arises.
3.20 By self-control on the form of a body, by suspending perceptibility and separating effulgence therefrom, there arises invisibility and inaudibilty.
3.21 Action is of two kinds, dormant and fruitful. By self-control on such action, one portends the time of death.
3.22 By performing self-control on friendliness, the strength to grant joy arises.
3.23 By self-control over any kind of strength, such as that of the elephant, that very strength arises.
3.24 By self-control on the primal activator comes knowledge of the hidden, the subtle, and the distant.
3.25 By self-control on the Sun comes knowledge of spatial specificities.
3.26 By self-control on the Moon comes knowledge of the heavens.
3.27 By self-control on the Polestar arises knowledge of orbits.
3.28 By self-control on the navel arises knowledge of the constitution of the body.
3.29 By self-control on the pit of the throat one subdues hunger and thirst.
3.30 By self-control on the tube within the chest one acquires absolute steadiness.
3.31 By self-control on the light in the head one envisions perfected beings.
3.32 There is knowledge of everything from intuition.
3.33 Self-control on the heart brings knowledge of the mental entity.
3.34 Experience arises due to the inability of discerning the attributes of vitality from the indweller, even though they are indeed distinct from one another. Self-control brings true knowledge of the indweller by itself.
3.35 This spontaneous enlightenment results in intuitional perception of hearing, touching, seeing and smelling.
3.36 To the outward turned mind, the sensory organs are perfections, but are obstacles to realization.
3.37 When the bonds of the mind caused by action have been loosened, one may enter the body of another by knowledge of how the nerve-currents function.
3.38 By self-control of the nerve-currents utilising the lifebreath, one may levitate, walk on water, swamps, thorns, or the like.
3.39 By self-control over the maintenance of breath, one may radiate light.
3.40 By self-control on the relation of the ear to the ether one gains distant hearing.
3.41 By self-control over the relation of the body to the ether, and maintaining at the same time the thought of the lightness of cotton, one is able to pass through space.
3.42 By self-control on the mind when it is separated from the body- the state known as the Great Transcorporeal- all coverings are removed from the Light.
3.43 Mastery over the elements arises when their gross and subtle forms,as well as their essential characteristics, and the inherent attributes and experiences they produce, is examined in self-control.
3.44 Thereby one may become as tiny as an atom as well as having many other abilities, such as perfection of the body, and non-resistence to duty.
3.45 Perfection of the body consists in beauty, grace, strength and adamantine hardness.
3.46 By self-control on the changes that the sense-organs endure when contacting objects, and on the power of the sense of identity, and of the influence of the attributes, and the experience all these produce- one masters the senses.
3.47 From that come swiftness of mind, independence of perception, and mastery over primoridal matter.
3.48 To one who recognizes the distinctive relation between vitality and indweller comes omnipotence and omniscience.
3.49 Even for the destruction of the seed of bondage by desirelessness there comes absolute independence.
3.50 When invited by invisible beings one should be neither flattered nor satisfied, for there is yet a possibility of ignorance rising up.
3.51 By self-control over single moments and their succession there is wisdom born of discrimination.
3.52 From that there is recognition of two similars when that difference cannot be distinguished by class, characteristic or position.
3.53 Intuition, which is the entire discriminative knowledge, relates to all objects at all times, and is without succession.
3.54 Liberation is attained when there is equal purity between vitality and the indweller.
End Part Three
YOGA SUTRAS OF PATANJALI
on Spiritual Disciplines
2.1 Austerity, the study of sacred texts, and the dedication of action to God constitute the discipline of Mystic Union.
2.2 This discipline is practised for the purpose of acquiring fixity of mind on the Lord, free from all impurities and agitations, or on One's Own Reality, and for attenuating the afflictions.
2.3 The five afflictions are ignorance, egoism, attachment, aversion, and the desire to cling to life.
2.4 Ignorance is the breeding place for all the others whether they are dormant or attenuated, partially overcome or fully operative.
2.5 Ignorance is taking the non-eternal for the eternal, the impure for the pure, evil for good and non-self as self.
2.6 Egoism is the identification of the power that knows with the instruments of knowing.
2.7 Attachment is that magnetic pattern which clusters in pleasure and pulls one towards such experience.
2.8 Aversion is the magnetic pattern which clusters in misery and pushes one from such experience.
2.9 Flowing by its own energy, established even in the wise and in the foolish, is the unending desire for life.
2.10 These patterns when subtle may be removed by developing their contraries.
2.11 Their active afflictions are to be destroyed by meditation.
2.12 The impressions of works have their roots in afflictions and arise as experience in the present and the future births.
2.13 When the root exists, its fruition is birth, life and experience.
2.14 They have pleasure or pain as their fruit, according as their cause be virtue or vice.
2.15 All is misery to the wise because of the pains of change, anxiety, and purificatory acts.
2.16 The grief which has not yet come may be avoided.
2.17 The cause of the avoidable is the superimposition of the external world onto the unseen world.
2.18 The experienced world consists of the elements and the senses in play. It is of the nature of cognition, activity and rest, and is for the purpose of experience and realization.
2.19 The stages of the attributes effecting the experienced world are the specialized and the unspecialized, the differentiated and the undifferentiated.
2.20 The indweller is pure consciousness only, which though pure, sees through the mind and is identified by ego as being only the mind.
2.21 The very existence of the seen is for the sake of the seer.
2.22 Although Creation is discerned as not real for the one who has achieved the goal, it is yet real in that Creation remains the common experience to others.
2.23 The association of the seer with Creation is for the distinct recognition of the objective world, as well as for the recognition of the distinct nature of the seer.
2.24 The cause of the association is ignorance.
2.25 Liberation of the seer is the result of the dissassociation of the seer and the seen, with the disappearance of ignorance.
2.26 The continuous practice of discrimination is the means of attaining liberation.
2.27 Steady wisdom manifests in seven stages.
2.28 On the destruction of impurity by the sustained practice of the limbs of Union, the light of knowledge reveals the faculty of discrimination.
2.29 The eight limbs of Union are self-restraint in actions, fixed observance, posture, regulation of energy, mind-control in sense engagements, concentration, meditation, and realization.
2.30 Self-restraint in actions includes abstention from violence, from falsehoods, from stealing, from sexual engagements, and from acceptance of gifts.
2.31 These five willing abstentions are not limited by rank, place, time or circumstance and constitute the Great Vow.
2.32 The fixed observances are cleanliness, contentment, austerity, study and persevering devotion to God.
2.33 When improper thoughts disturb the mind, there should be constant pondering over the opposites.
2.34 Improper thoughts and emotions such as those of violence- whether done, caused to be done, or even approved of- indeed, any thought originating in desire, anger or delusion, whether mild medium or intense- do all result in endless pain and misery. Overcome such distractions by pondering on the opposites.
2.35 When one is confirmed in non-violence, hostility ceases in his presence.
2.36 When one is firmly established in speaking truth, the fruits of action become subservient to him.
2.37 All jewels approach him who is confirmed in honesty.
2.38 When one is confirmed in celibacy, spiritual vigor is gained.
2.39 When one is confirmed in non-possessiveness, the knowledge of the why and how of existence is attained.
2.40 From purity follows a withdrawal from enchantment over one's own body as well as a cessation of desire for physical contact with others.
2.41 As a result of contentment there is purity of mind, one-pointedness, control of the senses, and fitness for the vision of the self.
2.42 Supreme happiness is gained via contentment.
2.43 Through sanctification and the removal of impurities, there arise special powers in the body and senses.
2.44 By study comes communion with the Lord in the Form most admired.
2.45 Realization is experienced by making the Lord the motive of all actions.
2.46 The posture should be steady and comfortable.
2.47 In effortless relaxation, dwell mentally on the Endless with utter attention.
2.48 From that there is no disturbance from the dualities.
2.49 When that exists, control of incoming and outgoing energies is next.
2.50 It may be external, internal, or midway, regulated by time, place, or number, and of brief or long duration.
2.51 Energy-control which goes beyond the sphere of external and internal is the fourth level- the vital.
2.52 In this way, that which covers the light is destroyed.
2.53 Thus the mind becomes fit for concentration.
2.54 When the mind maintains awareness, yet does not mingle with the senses, nor the senses with sense impressions, then self-awareness blossoms.
2.55 In this way comes mastery over the senses.
End Part Two
THE YOGA SUTRAS OF PATANJALI
1 OF 4
Before beginning any spiritual text it is customary to clear the mind of all distracting thoughts, to calm the breath and to purify the heart.
1.1 Now, instruction in Union.
1.2. Union is restraining the thought-streams natural to the mind.
1.3. Then the seer dwells in his own nature.
1.4. Otherwise he is of the same form as the thought-streams.
1.5. The thought-streams are five-fold, painful and not painful.
1.6. Right knowledge, wrong knowledge, fancy, sleep and memory.
1.7. Right knowledge is inference, tradition and genuine cognition.
1.8. Wrong knowledge is false, illusory, erroneous beliefs or notions.
1.9. Fancy is following after word-knowledge empty of substance.
1.10. Deep sleep is the modification of the mind which has for its substratum nothingness.
1.11. Memory is not allowing mental impressions to escape.
1.12. These thought-streams are controlled by practice and non-attachment.
1.13. Practice is the effort to secure steadiness.
1.14. This practice becomes well-grounded when continued with reverent devotion and without interruption over a long period of time.
1.15. Desirelessness towards the seen and the unseen gives the consciousness of mastery.
1.16. This is signified by an indifference to the three attributes, due to knowledge of the Indweller.
1.17. Cognitive meditation is accompanied by reasoning, discrimination, bliss and the sense of 'I am.'
1.18. There is another meditation which is attained by the practice of alert mental suspension until only subtle impressions remain.
1.19. For those beings who are formless and for those beings who are merged in unitive consciousness, the world is the cause.
1.20. For others, clarity is preceded by faith, energy, memory and equalminded contemplation.
1.21. Equalminded contemplation is nearest to those whose desire is most ardent.
1.22. There is further distinction on account of the mild, moderate or intense means employed.
1.23. Or by surrender to God.
1.24. God is a particular yet universal indweller, untouched by afflictions, actions, impressions and their results.
1.25. In God, the seed of omniscience is unsurpassed.
1.26. Not being conditioned by time, God is the teacher of even the ancients.
1.27. God's voice is Om.
1.28. The repetition of Om should be made with an understanding of its meaning.
1.29. From that is gained introspection and also the disappearance of obstacles.
1.30. Disease, inertia, doubt, lack of enthusiasm, laziness, sensuality, mind-wandering, missing the point, instability- these distractions of the mind are the obstacles.
1.31. Pain, despair, nervousness, and disordered inspiration and expiration are co-existent with these obstacles.
1.32. For the prevention of the obstacles, one truth should be practiced constantly.
1.33. By cultivating friendliness towards happiness and compassion towards misery, gladness towards virtue and indifference towards vice, the mind becomes pure.
1.34. Optionally, mental equanimity may be gained by the even expulsion and retention of energy.
1.35. Or activity of the higher senses causes mental steadiness.
1.36. Or the state of sorrowless Light.
1.37. Or the mind taking as an object of concentration those who are freed of compulsion.
1.38. Or depending on the knowledge of dreams and sleep.
1.39. Or by meditation as desired.
1.40. The mastery of one in Union extends from the finest atomic particle to the greatest infinity.
1.41. When the agitations of the mind are under control, the mind becomes like a transparent crystal and has the power of becoming whatever form is presented. knower, act of knowing, or what is known.
1.42. The argumentative condition is the confused mixing of the word, its right meaning, and knowledge.
1.43. When the memory is purified and the mind shines forth as the object alone, it is called non-argumentative.
1.44. In this way the meditative and the ultra-meditative having the subtle for their objects are also described.
1.45. The province of the subtle terminates with pure matter that has no pattern or distinguishing mark.
1.46. These constitute seeded contemplations.
1.47. On attaining the purity of the ultra-meditative state there is the pure flow of spiritual consciousness.
1.48. Therein is the faculty of supreme wisdom.
1.49. The wisdom obtained in the higher states of consciousness is different from that obtained by inference and testimony as it refers to particulars.
1.50. The habitual pattern of thought stands in the way of other impressions.
1.51. With the suppression of even that through the suspension of all modifications of the mind, contemplation without seed is attained.
Song 103 of Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore
Ever in my life have I sought thee with my songs. It was they who led me from door to door, and with them have I felt about me, searching and touching my world.
It was my songs that taught me all the lessons I ever learnt; they showed me secret paths, they brought before my sight many a star on the horizon of my heart.
They guided me all the day long to the mysteries of the country of pleasure and pain, and, at last, to what palace gate have the brought me in the evening at the end of my journey?
I boasted among men that I had known you. They see your pictures in all works of mine. They come and ask me, `Who is he?' I know not how to answer them. I say, `Indeed, I cannot tell.' They blame me and they go away in scorn. And you sit there smiling.
I put my tales of you into lasting songs. The secret gushes out from my heart. They come and ask me, `Tell me all your meanings.' I know not how to answer them. I say, `Ah, who knows what they mean!' They smile and go away in utter scorn. And you sit there smiling.
In one salutation to thee, my God,
let all my senses spread out and touch this world at thy feet.
Like a rain-cloud of July hung low with its burden of unshed showers let all my mind bend down at thy door in one salutation to thee.
Let all my songs gather together their diverse strains into a single current
and flow to a sea of silence in one salutation to thee.
Like a flock of homesick cranes flying night and day back to their mountain nests let all my life take its voyage to its eternal home in one salutation to thee.
Song 100 of Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore
I will deck thee with trophies, garlands of my defeat.
It is never in my power to escape unconquered.
I surely know my pride will go to the wall, my life will burst its bonds in exceeding pain, and my empty heart will sob out in music like a hollow reed, and the stone will melt in tears.
I surely know the hundred petals of a lotus will not remain closed for ever
and the secret recess of its honey will be bared.
From the blue sky an eye shall gaze upon me and summon me in silence. Nothing will be left for me, nothing whatever,
and utter death shall I receive at thy feet.
When I give up the helm I know that the time has come for thee to take it. What there is to do will be instantly done. Vain is this struggle.
Then take away your hands and silently put up with your defeat, my heart, and think it your good fortune to sit perfectly still where you are placed.
These my lamps are blown out at every little puff of wind, and trying to light them I forget all else again and again.
But I shall be wise this time and wait in the dark, spreading my mat on the floor; and whenever it is thy pleasure, my lord, come silently and take thy seat here.
I dive down into the depth of the ocean of forms, hoping to gain the perfect pearl of the formless.
No more sailing from harbour to harbour with this my weather-beaten boat. The days are long passed when my sport was to be tossed on waves.
And now I am eager to die into the deathless.
Into the audience hall by the fathomless abyss where swells up the music of toneless strings I shall take this harp of my life.
I shall tune it to the notes of forever, and when it has sobbed out its last utterance, lay down my silent harp at the feet of the silent.
Song 97 of Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore
I was not aware of the moment when I first crossed the threshold of this life.
What was the power that made me open out into this vast mystery like a bud in the forest at midnight!
When in the morning I looked upon the light I felt in a moment that I was no stranger in this world, that the inscrutable without name and form had taken me in its arms in the form of my own mother.
Even so, in death the same unknown will appear as ever known to me. And because I love this life, I know I shall love death as well.
The child cries out when from the right breast the mother takes it away, in the very next moment to find in the left one its consolation.
When I go from hence let this be my parting word, that what I have seen is unsurpassable.
I have tasted of the hidden honey of this lotus that expands on the ocean of light, and thus am I blessed--let this be my parting word.
In this playhouse of infinite forms I have had my play and here have I caught sight of him that is formless.
My whole body and my limbs have thrilled with his touch who is beyond touch; and if the end comes here, let it come--let this be my parting word.
When my play was with thee I never questioned who thou wert. I knew nor shyness nor fear, my life was boisterous.
In the early morning thou wouldst call me from my sleep like my own comrade and lead me running from glade to glade.
On those days I never cared to know the meaning of songs thou sangest to me. Only my voice took up the tunes, and my heart danced in their cadence.
Now, when the playtime is over, what is this sudden sight that is come upon me? The world with eyes bent upon thy feet stands in awe with all its silent stars.
Song 94 of Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore
I know that the day will come when my sight of this earth shall be lost, and life will take its leave in silence, drawing the last curtain over my eyes.
Yet stars will watch at night, and morning rise as before, and hours heave like sea waves casting up pleasures and pains.
When I think of this end of my moments, the barrier of the moments breaks and I see by the light of death thy world with its careless treasures. Rare is its lowliest seat, rare is its meanest of lives.
Things that I longed for in vain and things that I got--let them pass. Let me but truly possess the things that I ever spurned and overlooked.
I have got my leave. Bid me farewell, my brothers! I bow to you all and take my departure.
Here I give back the keys of my door--and I give up all claims to my house. I only ask for last kind words from you.
We were neighbours for long, but I received more than I could give. Now the day has dawned and the lamp that lit my dark corner is out. A summons has come and I am ready for my journey.
At this time of my parting, wish me good luck, my friends!
The sky is flushed with the dawn and my path lies beautiful.
Ask not what I have with me to take there.
I start on my journey with empty hands and expectant heart.
I shall put on my wedding garland. Mine is not the red-brown dress of the traveller, and though there are dangers on the way I have no fear in mind.
The evening star will come out when my voyage is done and the plaintive notes of the twilight melodies be struck up from the King's gateway.
Song 91 of Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore
No more noisy, loud words from me--such is my master's will. Henceforth I deal in whispers. The speech of my heart will be carried on in murmurings of a song.
Men hasten to the King's market. All the buyers and sellers are there. But I have my untimely leave in the middle of the day, in the thick of work.
Let then the flowers come out in my garden, though it is not their time; and let the midday bees strike up their lazy hum.
Full many an hour have I spent in the strife of the good and the evil, but now it is the pleasure of my playmate of the empty days to draw my heart on to him; and I know not why is this sudden call to what useless inconsequence!
On the day when death will knock at thy door what wilt thou offer to him?
Oh, I will set before my guest the full vessel of my life--I will never let him go with empty hands.
All the sweet vintage of all my autumn days and summer nights, all the earnings and gleanings of my busy life will I place before him at the close of my days when death will knock at my door.
O thou the last fulfilment of life, Death, my death, come and whisper to me!
Day after day I have kept watch for thee; for thee have I borne the joys and pangs of life.
All that I am, that I have, that I hope and all my love have ever flowed towards thee in depth of secrecy. One final glance from thine eyes and my life will be ever thine own.
The flowers have been woven and the garland is ready for the bridegroom. After the wedding the bride shall leave her home and meet her lord alone in the solitude of night.
Song 88 of Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore
Death, thy servant, is at my door. He has crossed the unknown sea and brought thy call to my home.
The night is dark and my heart is fearful--yet I will take up the lamp, open my gates and bow to him my welcome. It is thy messenger who stands at my door.
I will worship him placing at his feet the treasure of my heart.
He will go back with his errand done, leaving a dark shadow on my morning; and in my desolate home only my forlorn self will remain as my last offering to thee.
In desperate hope I go and search for her in all the corners of my room; I find her not.
My house is small and what once has gone from it can never be regained.
But infinite is thy mansion, my lord, and seeking her I have to come to thy door.
I stand under the golden canopy of thine evening sky and I lift my eager eyes to thy face.
I have come to the brink of eternity from which nothing can vanish--no hope, no happiness, no vision of a face seen through tears.
Oh, dip my emptied life into that ocean, plunge it into the deepest fullness. Let me for once feel that lost sweet touch in the allness of the universe.
Deity of the ruined temple! The broken strings of Vina sing no more your praise. The bells in the evening proclaim not your time of worship.
The air is still and silent about you.
In your desolate dwelling comes the vagrant spring breeze. It brings the tidings of flowers--the flowers that for your worship are offered no more.
Your worshipper of old wanders ever longing for favour still refused.
In the eventide, when fires and shadows mingle with the gloom of dust,
he wearily comes back to the ruined temple with hunger in his heart.
Many a festival day comes to you in silence, deity of the ruined temple.
Many a night of worship goes away with lamp unlit.
Many new images are built by masters of cunning art and carried to the holy stream of oblivion when their time is come.
Only the deity of the ruined temple remains unworshipped in deathless neglect.
Song 85 of Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore
Mother, I shall weave a chain of pearls for thy neck with my tears of sorrow.
The stars have wrought their anklets of light to deck thy feet, but mine will hang upon thy breast.
Wealth and fame come from thee and it is for thee to give or to withhold them. But this my sorrow is absolutely mine own, and when I bring it to thee as my offering thou rewardest me with thy grace.
It is the pang of separation that spreads throughout the world and gives birth to shapes innumerable in the infinite sky.
It is this sorrow of separation that gazes in silence all nights from star to star and becomes lyric among rustling leaves in rainy darkness of July.
It is this overspreading pain that deepens into loves and desires, into sufferings and joy in human homes; and this it is that ever melts and flows in songs through my poet's heart.
When the warriors came out first from their master's hall,
where had they hid their power? Where were their armour and their arms?
They looked poor and helpless, and the arrows were showered upon them on the day they came out from their master's hall.
When the warriors marched back again to their master's hall where did they hide their power?
They had dropped the sword and dropped the bow and the arrow; peace was on their foreheads, and they had left the fruits of their life behind them on the day they marched back again to their master's hall.