Jiddu Krishnamurti From Darkness To Light

Jiddu Krishnamurti

From Darkness To Light   2
Table Of Content
Preface ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..3
Publishers Note………………………………………………………………………………………………….4
Neither time… ……………………………………………………………………………………………………5
The Path……………………………………………………………………………………………………………7
The Search ………………………………………………………………………………………………………33
The Immortal Friend…………………………………………………………………………………………48
The Song Of Life……………………………………………………………………………………………..66
Prose Poems…………………………………………………………………………………………………….93   3
The Collected Works of J. Krishnamurti, of which this volume is the first, is
a  true  record  for  posterity  of  the  works  of  this  unique  human  being  whose
message represents no known organized religion, philosophy or ideology.
History has often revealed that the life and experiences of a single human
being can be of an unusual character from beginning to end and can have a
significant  influence  on  the  lives  of  many  others  all  over  the  earth.  This  is
especially so if that person is unique as a thinker and teacher endeavoring to
communicate the truth and meaning of human experiences that reach to the
deepest level in all of us, as he has discovered them on his journey in search
of the truth about life and living.
In  the  life  of  such  a  being,  as  in  the  lives  of  many  artists,  there  can  be
different creative periods, arising out of the experiences of a particular time.
These may seem to differ widely in expression but are actually rooted in the
same inward creative source, reflecting different insights at different periods of
life. Some readers will find this to be true of these teachings and writings of J.
Krishnamurti that have been published before over a period of sixty years in
various parts of the world.
During  the  more  than  half  a  century  that  Krishnamurti  has  been  a  public
figure, travelling continually about the world, his message has been heard and
read assiduously by thousands of people of all ages who have come to realize
that the traditional religious, moral and ethical values have failed to bring about
a peaceful and happy social order.
Krishnamurti  has  provided  us  with  a  living  restatement  of  truth,  love  and
beauty  –  the  fundamental  essence  of  the  truly  religious  life,  a  life  free  of
superstition, greed and fear – which is the only source and foundation of lasting
happiness for the individual and for peace and order in our world.
Publishers Note
J. Krishnamurti is well known throughout the world as a unique thinker and
teacher.  Many  of  his  public  talks  and  discussions  as  well  as  his  personal
writings have been published from time to time during the past sixty years; but
a great number of these earlier publications have been out of print for years.
The  K.  &  R.  Foundation,  a  California  corporation,  has  as  one  of  its
purposes the republication, as originally published, of certain of the works of J.
Krishnamurti. These will be contained in The Collected Works of Krishnamurti,
of which this is the first volume.
In all his writings, Krishnamurti touches on the fundamental truth at the core
of all religions, but he gives it a new expression understandable in our time.
His expression of this unique realization has naturally varied in the course of
the years.
There  was  a  time  in  the  very  beginning  when  Krishnamurti  expressed
himself through poetry and in parables. These poetic writings represent a facet
of Krishnamurti that is characterized by the intensity of his feelings and by his
passionate appeal to the individual for self-realization of truth, each in his own
unique, inimitable way.
In this first volume of his poetry Krishnamurti uses a multitude of similes in
describing his feelings that reflect everywhere the beauty and the wonder of
nature.  The  effect  of  these  descriptions  is  one  of  immense  tenderness  and
great strength, of love of God and mankind, of acceptance and surrender at
the  same  time.  The  language  of  Krishnamurti  is  that  of  a  seer  and  a  poet  –
inevitably it touches profoundly the human heart.
Neither time…
Neither time nor space exists for the man who knows the eternal.
Space  and  time  are  real  for  the  man  who  is  yet  imperfect  and  space  is
divided for him into dimensions, time into past, present and future. He looks
behind him and sees his birth, his acquisitions, all that he has rejected. That
past is being continually modified by the future which is ever being added to it.
From the past man turns his eyes to the future where death, the unknown, the
darkness, the mystery, await him.
Fascinated  by  these  he  can  no  longer  detach  himself  from  them.  The
mystery of the future holds for him the fulfillment of all his desires, which the
past  has  denied  to  him,  and  in  his  dreams  he  flies  to  that  brilliant  horizon
where happiness must exist, where he must seek it.
No one will ever pierce the infinite mystery of the future – impenetrable in its
evanescent illusion – neither magician, prophet nor God! But on the contrary it
will be the mystery which will engulf man, which will not let him escape, which
will break the mainspring of his life.
Life is not to be approached through the past, nor through the mirage of the
future. Life cannot be approached through  intermediaries,  nor  conquered  for
That  discovery  can  only  be  made  in  the  immediate  present  –  by  the
individual for himself and not for others – by the individual who has become the
eternal «I». That eternal «I» is created by the perfection of the self – perfection in
which all things are contained, even human imperfections. Man, not yet having
achieved that condition of life in the present, lives in the past which he regrets,
lives in the future where he
hopes, but never in the present which he ignores. This is the case with all
men.    6
Balanced between the past and the future, the «I» is poised as a tiger ready
to spring, as an eagle ready to fly, as the bow at the moment of releasing the
This moment of equilibrium, of high tension, is «creation.» It is the fullness of
all life, it is immortality.
The wind of the desert sweeps away all trace of the traveller.
The sole imprint is the footstep of the present. The past, the future… sands
blown by the wind.
The Path
There  is  not  a  cloud  in  the  sky;  there  is  not  a  breath  of  wind;  the  sun  is
pouring down cruelly and relentlessly its hot rays; there is a mist caused by the
heat, and I am alone on the road. On both sides of me there are fields melting
into the far distant horizon; there is not a blade of grass that is green; there is
not a flower breathing in this heartbroken country; everything is withered and
parched;  all  crying  with  anguish  of  the  untold  and  unutterable  pain  of  ages.
There is not a tree in the vast fields under whose shade a tender thing might
grow  up  smiling,  careless  of  the  cruel  sun.  The  very  earth  is  cracked  and
gaping hopelessly with bared eyes at the pitiless sun.
The  sky  has  lost  its  delicate  blue  and  it  is  grey  with  the  heat  of  many
centuries. Those skies must have shed gentle rain, this very earth must have
received  it,  those  dead  plants,  those  huddled  up  bushes,  those  withered
blades of grass must once have quenched their thirst. They are all dead, dead
beyond all thought of life. How many centuries ago the soothing drops of rain
fell I cannot tell, nor can those hot stones remember when they were happy in
the  rain,  nor  those  dead  blades  of  grass  when  they  were  wet.  Everything  is
dead, dead beyond hope. There is not a sound; awful and fearsome silence
reigns. Now and then, there is a groan of immense pain as the earth cracks,
and the dust goes up and comes down, lifeless.
Not a living thing breathes this stifling air; all things, once living, are now
dead.  The  wide  stream  beside  the  road,  which  in  former  ages  bubbled  with
mirth and laughter, satisfying many living things with its delicious cool waters,
is now dead; the bed of the stream has forgotten when the waters used to flow
over  it,  nor  can  those  dead  fish,  whose  bleached  and  delicate  skeletons  lie
open  to  the  blinding  light,  remember  when  they  swam  in  couples  exposing
their exquisite, brilliant colours to the warm and life-giving sun. The fields are
covered with the dead of many bygone ages, never can the dead vibrate again
with the happy pulse of life. All is gone, all is spent, death has trapped in its
cruel embrace all living things, all except me.    8
I am alone on the road, not a soul in front of me; there may be many behind
me, but I do not desire to look back upon the horror of sufferings of the past.
On either side of this long and what seems to be an interminable highway of
my  life,  there  is  desolate  waste  ever  beckoning  me  to  join  its  miserable
quietude – death. In front of me the path stretches mile after mile, year after
year,  century  after  century,  white  in  the  blazing,  pitiless  sun;  the  road  ever
mounts, in an imperceptible inclination. The whiteness of this weary path, with
the glittering sun, makes me almost blind; look where I may to rest my tired
eyes, there is everywhere that immense ocean of blinding light, blatant in its
The sun never goes to sleep but ruthlessly sheds his unwelcome and awful
heat. The road is not all even, but, here and there, there are parts as smooth
as a lake on a calm, peaceful day. This dreary path is even to the tread, but
unexpectedly,  like  some  unsatisfied  storm,  which  suddenly  bursts  forth  to
triumph in its joy of destruction, the road is broken up and becomes merciless
to  the  already  bleeding  feet.  I  cannot  tell  when  it  will  again  become  smooth
and encouraging; it may be at the next footstep, or after many years of toil and
suffering. This bitter road cares not if it causes pain or pleasure; it is there for
me to tread willingly or unwillingly. Who built this road of misfortune I cannot
tell, nor can the road mention his name. It has existed for many centuries, nay
for many millennia.
Nobody but me has trodden it; it has been cut out for me to walk alone.
Companions, friends, brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers have I had, but on
this dreadful road they cannot exist. This path is like the jealous and exacting
lover, hating his love to have other friends and other lovers. The road is my
inexorable  love,  and  it  guards  my  love  jealously,  destroying  all  those  who
would accompany me or help me. Exacting in all things both small or great, it
never releases me from its cruel, kind gaze. It embraces me with a strength
that almost chokes me, and laughs with a knowing kindness as my feet bleed;
I  cannot  go  away  from  it,  it  is  my  constant  and  lonely  love.  I  cannot  look
elsewhere but only at the long interminable path. At times it is neither kind nor   9
unkind – indifferent as to whether I am happy or unhappy, whether I am in pain
or in ecstasy, whether I am in profound sorrow or in deep adoration, indifferent
to all things. It well knows that I cannot leave that enthralling path, nor can it
depart from my sorrow-laden self. We are inseparable; it cannot exist without
me nor I without it. We are one, yet I am different.
Like the smile of a sweet spring morn the path beckons me to walk on it,
and  like  the  angry  and  treacherous  ocean  it  cheats  me  of  my  momentary
happiness.  It  holds  me  as  I  fall,  in  blissful  embrace,  making  me  forget  the
sorrow and the suffering of the past, kissing me with the kiss of a tender and
loving  mother  whose  only  thought  is  to  protect,  and  when  I  am  in  complete
oblivion and ecstasy as that of a man who has drunk deep at the fountain of
supreme  happiness,  it  wakes  me  with  a  rude  shock  from  my  happy  and
ephemeral dream and pushes me roughly to my aching feet.
Cruel  and  kind  is  my  lonesome  friend  and  lover,  unexpected  in  her  hard
tyranny and in her delicious love. Does she like me, I do not care; does she
dislike me, I do not care, but she is my only companion, nor do I desire any
The  sun  is  scorching  me  and  the  path  makes  me  bleed.  I  leave  no
footprints on that hard road nor do I see the traces of any human being. So I
am  the  only  lover  my  path  has  had  and  I  glory  in  my  exclusiveness  and
separateness. I suffer unlike others, am happy unlike others, and my obstinacy
in loving her is unlike any other lover the world has ever seen. I am breathless
in my adoration of her, and no other worshipper can ever lay his sacrifice at
her feet with greater willingness and with greater enthusiasm than I can.
There is no follower with greater fanaticism; nor can there exist a greater
devotee. Her cruelty only makes me love her more, and her kindness binds me
closer and everlastingly to her. We live for each other and I alone can see her
dear face, I alone can kiss her hand. No other lover has she besides me, no
other friend. As the young bird that bursts forth from its restraining nest with its
untried wings to enjoy the freedom and the beauty of the great world, so have I   10
rushed forward on this path to enjoy the exhilaration of loving her in solitude
away from others who might dare to look on her beauteous face.
Many  winds  of  many  seasons  have  battered  me,  like  a  dead  leaf  blown
hither and thither by autumnal winds, but I always have wandered back to this
enticing path. Like a wave glittering in the hot ceaseless sunshine have I been
dancing to the fierce winds; like a desert which is bound by no mountain, have
I lain open to the sun; like the sands of the ocean, have my lives been. Never
a  peaceful  rest,  never  has  contentment  filled  my  soul,  never  has  joy
penetrated my very being and never have I been comforted. No smile has ever
compensated my longing; no face, sweet and gentle, has brought balm to my
aching heart; no kind words have allayed my infinite suffering.
Neither the love of the mother nor the wife nor the child has ever quenched
my  burning  love;  but  all  have  deserted  me  and  I  have  abandoned  them  all.
Like  some  leprous  thing  have  I  wandered,  alone  and  unwept  for.  Pain  and
sorrow have been my eternal and inseparable companions. Like a shadow has
my grief clung to me; like one in everlasting pain have I wept bitter tears.
Many a time have I longed for death and complete oblivion and neither has
been  granted  to  me;  many  a  time  have  I  looked  death  in  its  horrible  face,
tearing my heart and welcoming joyously the terror of so many, but it smiled
and gave me a blessing; many a time, tired of wooing death, have I turned my
face  and  footsteps  to  the  altar  of  love  and  worship,  but  little  comfort  have  I
found; many a sacrifice, both of myself and of others, have I made in the hope
of reaching the altar of contentment, but in vain; many a time have I dwelt in
breathless adoration, but, like the scent of a delicately perfumed flower, has
my adoration been wafted through centuries and left me listless, and still on
my aching knees; many a time have I laid fragrant flowers at sacred feet, and
no blessing have I received.
Many a time have I offered to the numerous Gods of many lands and races,
but the Gods have always been silent and Their look always averted; many a
time have I been Their priest in Their sacred temples but the white robes have   11
fallen off me and left me naked to the sun; many a holy lotus of the temple
have I kissed in adoration of the Gods, but the lotus has withered in my hand.
Many a time have I worshipped at the altars that the world has ever created,
but with bowed head and silent have I returned.
Many  ceremonies  have  I  performed,  but  my  longing  has  never  been
satisfied; many rites have I delighted in, but there has been no joy, no hope. In
many a temple have I been consecrated, but have received no comfort. Many
a sacred book have I read, but knowledge was denied to me. Many a life have
I spent in holiness, but my life has been dark. Many a window have I opened
to  gaze  at  the  stars,  but  they  parted  not  with  their  profound  wisdom.  Often
have  I  lain  awake  looking  into  nothingness,  looking  for  light,  but  darkness,
intense darkness has ever reigned.
Often,  in  many  lives,  have  I  deliberately  followed,  sometimes  blindly,
sometimes with open eyes, the humble teachers of the secluded village, but
their teachings have left me at the foot of the lonesome hill. I have lived nobly
and  toiled  laboriously;  I  have  restrained  myself  and  I  have  been  without
restraint.  Often  have  I  cried,  with  aching  heart  and  with  bitter  tears  for  the
Divine Hand to lead me, but no hand has aided me. I have struggled fiercely
with  humanity  to  gain  the  light,  but  the  light  and  the  humanity  have  I  lost.  I
have  meditated  profoundly  with  eyes  fixed  on  the  goal,  controlling  all  my
emotions, searching for truth; but nothing was revealed to me.
Many a time have I sought seclusion from my noisy brethren and tried to
escape from their petty and ignoble thoughts and worries, from their false and
uncouth  emotions,  from  their  little  miseries  and  sorrows  which  they  have
created for themselves, from their cruel hate and their infantile pity, from their
puerile  affection  and  their  fleeting  compassion,  from  their  unfair  gossip  and
from their warm and selfish friendship, from their bitter quarrels and their loud
rejoicings, from their vindictive anger and their soft love, from their talk of great
things which they know not of, and their knowledge of the little things which
they  know  so  well,  from  their  showering  honours  and  their  withering  scorn,   12
from  their  gross  flattery and their obvious contumely,  from  their  love  desires
and their petty aversions, from all that was human, and longing for all that was
divine, noble and great; but wheresoever I have been, and wheresoever I go,
humanity with its terrible agonies and crying pain has pursued me.
Many  a  time  I  sought  seclusion  and  solitude  in  the  forest  glade  dim  and
peaceful,  but  I  found  it  peopled  with  my  thoughts  and  haunted  with  misery.
Many a time have I thrilled at the beauty of the world, the soft spring and the
harsh  winter,  the  calm  and  glorious  sunset  and  the  heavenly  and  luminous
stars, the waking morn and the dying evening, the tender moon and the soft
light,  the  pitiless  sun  and  the  shadows  numberless,  the  green  grass,  the
velvety  leaf,  the  fierce  tiger,  the  gentle  deer,  the  loathsome  reptile,  the
dignified  elephant,  the  magnificent  mountains,  the  boisterous  seas.  I  have
enjoyed to the full the beauties that the world can give, but no joy have I found
in  them.  I  have  wandered  in  the  shady  valleys  and  climbed  the  precipitous
mountains. I have searched everywhere in vain and in pain.
Many  a  time,  in  many  a  life,  have  I  practiced  Yoga  through  starvation,
through  physical  torture,  through  self-denial,  but  I  have  not  seen  the  seated
God.  Desires  and  false  emotions  have  I  annihilated;  I  have  lived  purely
according to the sacred laws of many nations, I have done noble deeds which
the  world  has  praised  and  honoured,  and  it  has  showered  me  with  earthly
glories. I have never bowed my bleeding head to sorrow nor to temptation, and
I  have  made  pilgrimages  to  the  earth’s  heavenly  abodes;  but  always  and
everywhere have I found no true and lasting comfort.
Visions have I had in the temples of Nineveh, Babylon, Egypt, and in the
sacred  temples  of  holy  India; their Gods have I worshipped,  denying  earthly
happiness, renouncing father, mother, wife and child, offering sacrifices great
and small, noble and petty, sacrificing my body and my very soul for the light
to guide me; contentment has been denied me in all things I have done.
I have loved divinely, I have suffered nobly, I have smiled joyously, I have
danced rapturously in front of many Gods, I have been intoxicated with divinity,   13
I have longed to be freed from this aching world. I have helped many though
helping I needed most; I have healed many though healing I needed most; I
have  guided  many  though  guidance  I  needed  most;  I  have  comforted  when
comfort I needed most. When in deep sorrow I have smiled,  when  joyous,  I
have grieved; losing, I was happy; gaining, I was miserable; and ever have I
loved my God.
Yet  my  soul  is  in  utter  chaos,  yet  I  am  pitiably  blind,  surrounded  by
darkness and unrealities, yet the pure light is denied me, yet healing comfort
have  I  none,  yet  soothing  contentment  is  withheld,  yet  blissful  happiness  is
nowhere to be found, and I am alone, lonely as a fair wanderer in the sky. I am
alone with myself.
Tired  of  worship  and  adoration,  tired  of  solitude  and  loneliness,  tired  of
seeking  and  longing  for  divine  happiness,  tired  of  sacrifice  and  self-
mortification, tired of searching for the light and the truth, tired of being noble
and unselfish, tired of the struggle and the steep climb, tired of body and soul,
I  threw  myself  with  a  vigour  and  an  uproar  on  to  the  material  world,  hoping
thus to gain the ungainable and unfathomable.
I  became  young  and  healthy,  beautiful  and  passionate,  free  and  joyous,
gay  with  not  a  thought  for  the  morrow,  carefree  and  careless.  I  set  about
diligently and systematically to enjoy myself supremely and selfishly, heeding
nothing  but  bodily  pleasure  and  flashes  of  mental  enjoyment.  I  set  about  to
gain  and  to  taste  every  experience  both  low  and  high  that  the  mortal  world
could give me; nothing could be withheld from me, supreme pleasure was my
sole aim.
Often I was born rich to sleep in the lap of luxury and to enjoy the lull of
flattery. Youth was on my side and beauty was not denied to me; with these
two the world and its gross and unappetizing pleasures were ever open to me.
Foremost in all that was boisterous and lively was I; the untold pleasures of
youth had I from morning till night, nay till gentle dawn appeared in the dim
east, surrounded by licentious youth. I was foremost in gaiety, no rival could I   14
find  in  my  extremes.  The  pleasures  of  bright  Nineveh,  of  gay  Babylon,  of
wondrous Egypt and sunburnt India, were ever at my call. I was showered with
their  honours,  with  their  praise  and  their  flattery.  I  drank  deep  the  wine  of
merriment at the fountain of gaiety and satisfaction.
Slaves  and  servants  had  I  many,  but  never  a  master,  not  one.  Desires,
springing  up  like  the  glorious  flowers  of  the  tender  spring,  were  immediately
satisfied, never was there a curb to my whims and caprices. No sooner was
there a thought of enjoyment, it was fulfilled at the next pleasurable moment.
Love, of all kinds, was ever at my elbow; no pure thing was safe from me. I
desecrated all chastity, scoffing at the high gods, spurning the humbly faithful
of the human race. Rich and fragrant wine was always beside me with a slave
to hand it to me.
Surfeited with the throbs of gratification of man, in all the civilized countries,
among  all  refined  nations  and  races,  I  incarnated  as  a  woman  to  relish  the
delicate raptures of being loved by passionate men. Never was I satisfied with
the  monotony  of  one  lover  and  the  love  of  one  wooer,  but  many  and
innumerable adorers had I at my window. Languishing in my love, clamouring
for more, I passed my life. All the sufferings of child-bearing, the joys of having
a  child,  the  grief  of  losing  one,  the  pains  and  sorrows  of  old  age  and  the
neglect  and  indifference  of  former  lovers,  have  I  experienced,  and  have
gloated over past memories, and cried over long lost admirers.
Many a life, tired of licentious and free-loving woman, I became a sacred
wife  and  gained  the  happiness  of  pure  love.  Children  have  I  borne  with
pleasure and there never stirred in my heart, as of yore, the hate of suffering
when I brought forth to the world an innocent being. The tender love of clinging
children, their innocent smiles, their little sorrows and pains, their pure hearts,
their dear and holy kisses, their delicate embraces, have I enjoyed, and have
been thrilled at their welcome.
A loving wife, a tender mother I became, and gloried in the feelings of love.
Having gained that experience of womanhood, I turned once more to the free   15
man with strong and brutal emotions. Passion rent my heart and I lay in the lap
of luxury forgetful of sorrow and pain, oblivious to the suffering of any creature.
I lived a life of selfish enjoyment, rich in gross experiences, wealthy in mortal
pleasures, and the material world withheld nothing from me.
But there was no satisfaction, no contentment, no blissful happiness, and
my heart was as bare and desolate as the waste desert with no living thing to
give beauty and rapture to it.
I had tasted the wealth of the worlds, and I became a poor man, a beggar,
wandering  from  house  to  house,  denied  and  cursed  at,  dirty,  tired,  ugly,
hideous  in  my  own  eyes,  laughed  and  pointed  at,  hungry,  fatherless,
motherless,  with  no  woman  who  dared  to  touch  me,  pitiable,  riddled  with
known and unknown diseases, with bleeding feet; with a dirty sackcloth on my
shoulders which served me as a robe on festal days, as a blanket when the
cool night breezes blew, as a headgear when the blazing sun shone pitiless on
my dirty head; and with a worn staff in my hand have I wandered through the
rich  and  inhospitable  streets  of  many  nations.  The  wealthy  shopkeepers
welcomed me, each and all, when I was born in their gorgeous cities, with a
curse  and  a  howl,  with  a  hit  and  a  kick;  I  was  chased  by  men  and  savage
With faces averted the people passed, and their hands withheld the comfort
which lay in their power to give. The villages and towns were alike; pitiless and
with  a  hard  heart  the  peoples  of  all  nations  passed  me  by.  My  bedchamber
was  some  desolate  and  lonesome  spot  where  no  man  or  animal  dared  to
come,  loathing  to  breathe  such  foul  air.  Hunger  always  gnawing  at  my
stomach, heat of the sun always burning me, cold winds of the north always
biting  me,  frosts  withering  me,  shivering  with  ague  and  pain,  tottering  with
weariness,  eaten  by  disease,  have  I  wandered  all  over  the  earth,  never
meeting a smile, never a kind word, never a loving look.
The dogs were happy; they were fed, they had someone to pet them, to
comfort and care for them; but even the dogs howled at me. No house ever   16
opened its door to my occasional knock; the holy priests chased me from their
sacred  temples.  Children,  stricken  with  horror,  stopped  crying  when  they
beheld me. Mothers have held their infants closer at the distant sight of me,
rushing  with  a  shriek  into  their  protecting  homes.  I  seemed  to  spread
pestilence and unhappiness; the very heavens clouded. The rivers dried up at
my approach, as I went to quench my thirst; the trees gave me no fruit; the
earth  quaked  at  my  advance  and  the  stars  disappeared  at  the  sight  of  my
unfortunate being. No gentle rain fell on my head, cleansing my impurities.
Thus for many generations, among various nations, among strange people,
alone and unhappy, like a lone cloud that hangs over the vale and the hill, that
is  chased  and  harried  by  wanton  winds,  have  I  wandered,  miserable  and
Shelter and physical comfort have I not found for many ages; weary of body
and  desolate  of  soul,  hunted  like  some  vicious  animal,  have  I  sought
seclusion, and in solitude, alas! misery ever dwelt with me. Like a dead leaf
that is crushed by many a foot, have I suffered within this cruel and gruesome
abode of the flesh, poor and dirty, without love and without hate, with complete
indifference as to sorrow or pain, void of intelligence, famished and thirsty, all
the glorious emotions that once kindled my heart dead for many an age. Blind
of hope, despairing of my existence, crawling from human sight, detested and
loathed by the youngest of humanity, have I sought, through this agony and
through this interminable sorrow, through this torture of the physical body and
through the privation of the soul, through this degradation and horror – crying
and in eternal pain, for that light, for that comfort and for that happiness which
was  denied  to  me  when  sunk  in  gross  riches,  when  wallowing  in  selfish
contentment and caring for nothing except for my crude pleasures, which was
withheld from me also when I attempted to lead the pure and noble life.
For  when  I  worshipped  and  dwelt  in  pure  adoration,  when  life  was  a
continual  self-denial  and  self-mortification,  when  sin  was  abhorred  by  me,
when, with head erect, I gazed always into the dim future for truth, when there   17
was so much light around me, and yet profound and dismal darkness within
me, when I loved purely and longed nobly, when I was thrilled at the simple
name  of  God;  in  those  lives  of  temple  piety  and  harmlessness,  no  blissful
contentment could I find.
Part II
Many  and  varied  were  my  experiences,  thoughts  and  emotions;
innumerable  passions,  bestial  and  noble,  fine  sympathies  and  great  loves;
many  a  love,  pure  and  selfish,  many  shades  of  gratification  and  fine  and
glorious  feelings,  much  high  intelligence  and  low  cunning  have  I  known;
through many ages and through many centuries, through different nations and
races, through every capacity, have I passed and gained the knowledge that
the world can give to one who seeks and suffers.
Yet where is that light which sages have seen, that truth which conquers all
unrealities, that compassion which heals all suffering, that blissful contentment
which  brings  eternal  happiness  to  the  sorrow  stricken  soul  and  that  wisdom
which guides the aching humanity? Wheresoever I have been, wheresoever I
have groped, I have returned with an empty hand and grieving heart. Like an
erring child that strays from its beloved mother, have I wandered far into the
realms of despair and unrealities seeking the great reality, far from the lonely
road  have  I  departed  in  quest  of  that  unconquerable  longing  and  that
unquenchable  thirst;  but  I  have  been  burnt  with  anguish,  and  with  drooping
head have I returned.
No satisfaction or gratification have I found either amidst warring humanity
or away from the madding crowd; happy or unhappy, elevated or degraded, in
pain or in pleasure, there has always dwelt with me, like the dark shadow, a
deep  void  which  nothing  could  fill,  an  infinite  longing  which  could  not  be
satisfied; I have wandered blindly and wearily, asking every passer-by for that
balm which would cure my aching heart; they gave of their best with a gentle
smile and a blessing, but did not further my long quest. Where is that light and
where is that infinite happiness?    18
I  am  tired,  tired  with  the  wanderings  of  innumerable  ages;  I  am  weary,
weary with the fatigue of many centuries; I am exhausted from lack of strength
to  struggle  and  to  fight.  My  feet  falter  at  each  footstep;  I  can  scarce  drag
myself  along;  I  am  almost  blind  with  long  and  continuous  use  of  my  eyes
through  interminable  eras;  I  am  hairless,  haggard  and  old.  Pride  and  youth
have gone from me; I am bent double with the weight and sorrow of my infinite
pain; beauty, of which I once clamorously boasted, has deserted me and left
me a monstrous horror. What has passed and what has been wrought through
those long and insufferable years is beyond my memory, and my indifference
is complete.
I  am  desireless;  no  passion  sways  me;  no  affections  tear  me;  emotions
have  lost  their  ancient  and  all-powerful  influence  over  me;  tender  love  is
behind me far back in the distance; the exhilaration of action has been killed
out  of  me;  ambition,  that  spurs  so  many,  either  bringing  laurels or dishonor,
glory  or  shame,  is  buried  in  the  distant  past;  pride  that  holds  its  head  high
amidst  turmoil  of  noble  and  ignoble  deeds,  is  vanished,  never  to  reappear;
fear, that overwhelms and holds men in thrall, is crushed; gruesome death, the
awful  and  impartial  companion  of  all,  can  no  longer  dismay  me  with  its
threatening  stare.  Yet  there  is  a  deep  void  of  discontent  and  an  everlasting
longing for the almost unattainable.
Can I ever reach the mountain top of blissful contentment and grasp the
supreme  happiness?  Oh!  Mighty  Beings,  have  compassion  on  the  lonely
traveller who has voyaged through many stormy seas, travelled through many
lands and passed through many sorrows! I am alone – come to my help you
pitying and happy Beings! I have worshipped You, I have adored You, I have
offered many a sacrifice at Your altars, and much have I endured to kiss Your
sacred feet. Comfort me, Ye Masters of Wisdom, with those eyes of love and
understanding. What have I done, and what must I do to reach the glory and
the  greatness?  How  long  must  this  pitiable  condition  last?  How  long,  oh
Master, ere I behold Thy sacred beauty? How long must I walk on this long
and lonely path? Is there an end to this interminable agony which burneth the   19
very  love  for  Thee?  Why  hast  Thou  turned  away  Thy  rapturous  face,  and
whither has gone that beatific smile that allays all suffering in all things?
I  have  served  the  Great  Ones  and  the  needy  world  in  a  humble  and
despairing way; I have loved in a blind fashion all things, both small and great,
and I have drunk at all the fountains of earthly wisdom. Never have I reached
Thy feet. Like a glorious flower that has withered, that has lost its fragrance, its
beauty and its tenderness, is the existence of my life; cheerless and desolate,
like a dead tree that gives no cool shade to the weary traveler, I have given all,
withholding nothing, and empty and hopeless have I remained. I have led the
blind  and  the  sorrow-stricken,  myself  being  blind  and  sorrow-stricken.  Why
hast Thou not stretched Thy helping hand when I have stumbled? I am weary
with asking; I have no hope; all seems to be dead, and utter darkness prevails.
No tears fall, but yet I am crying, crying in infinite pain. No passer-by can help
me in my pitiable plight, for there is no one but me on this long, long path that
winds  about  like  a  mighty  stream  without  a  beginning  and  without  an  end.
Desperate, like a madman, I wander on, knowing not whither to go, nor caring
what becomes of me. The sun can no longer burn me. I am burnt to the very
bone.  Like  a  vast  ocean  which  is  boundless,  is  the  glaring  whiteness  that
surrounds me on all sides, and I can scarce distinguish the path which leads
me to my ultimate happiness. Everything is left behind me: my companions,
my friends and my love – I am desperately lonely.
Oh!  Master  of  Compassion,  come  to  my  rescue  and  lead  me  out  of  this
profound  darkness  to  pure  light,  and  to the  haven  of  immortality,  and  to  the
peaceful enlightenment. I seek the pure enlightenment that few Great Beings
have  attained.  I  seek  the  high  Deliverer  who  will  free  me  from  this  wheel  of
birth and death. I seek the Brother that will share with me His divine wisdom; I
seek the Lover that will comfort me; I seek to lay my weary head in the lap of
Compassion; I seek the Friend that will guide me; I seek to take refuge in the
Light.    20
The  path  gives  no  answer  to  my  desperate  calling;  the  cruel  skies  look
down on me with complete indifference; the comforting echo does not exist,
nor is there the dismal moan of many winds. profound silence reigns, save for
the monotonous sound of slow breathing and the dragging of weary footsteps.
There  is  no  peace;  there  is  a  movement  of  thousands  of  invisible  beings
around  me,  as  though  they  were  mocking  at  my  solitary  suffering.  The
expectant  hush  that  comes  before  a  storm  is  my  sole  companion;  only  the
annihilation  of  centuries  replies  to  my  continuous  entreaties;  isolation  is
complete and cruel.
The  path  no  longer  speaks  to  me  as  of  ancient  days  when  she  used  to
point out the right and the wrong, the true from the false, the essential from the
unessential, the great from the petty. Now she is as silent as the grave. She
has shown me a part of the way; but the rest I must tread by myself, before
this  beloved  path  must  be  left  behind  when  I  reach  the  mightier  and  more
glorious path. She cannot enter there, she cannot be the signpost as of yore,
but let me be satisfied with the thought of her guidance through many epochs
and storms to that everlasting resting place.
The path lies in front of me, gently and imperceptibly climbing, with never a
curve and not a thing to obstruct its gentle slope. Like some gigantic snake,
whose head and tail are unapproachable, whose eyes cannot perceive the end
of  its  being,  that  lays  itself  in  warm  sand,  heavy  with  killing,  sleepy  and
contented, is the silent path.
It  appears  to  be  breathing  and  sighing  with  some  quiet  and  happy
satisfaction, but now the sun steadily pours down his burning rays and drives
away all thought from my mind. My only longing is to find some delightful cool
shade where I could rest my weary body for a while; but an irresistible force
pushes  me  and  urges  me  on,  never  allowing  me  any  respite.  That  power
impels me to go forward with faltering footsteps. I cannot resist it. I am weak
and exhausted, but I obey that eternal and powerful compelling. I take a step,
totter and fall, like a swift bird that is wounded by the cruel arrow; I struggle   21
and become unconscious. Slowly and wearily I wake up and gaze at the naked
and bright heavens, and I desire to lie and rest where I am; but that mighty
force pushes me onto my feet, as of yore, to walk on the neverending path.
Lo,  there  is  a  solitary  tree,  many  feet  away,  whose  delicious  shadow
welcomes  me.  The  leaves  are  tender,  velvety,  and  fresh,  as  though  the
sudden healing breath of spring had but lately awakened the dead branches to
joyous life and to delicate green foliage. Its shadow is thick, shutting out the
searching  sun.  The  fresh  fragrant  grass  and  the  protecting  tree  smile  with
contentment on me, inviting me to share their happy abode. It is full of birds,
joyous in their continuous chatter, calling to each other in playful tones. With
failing strength I drag myself to enjoy the rare gift which the kind gods have
granted to me.
As I with pain approach, the whole tree bends down welcoming me, giving
some of its vital strength; I crawl under its fragrant and whisper- ing shadow
and gaze wearily into its cool depths. Sleep and exhaustion overcome me; I
am  asleep,  lulled  by  the  welcome  twitterings  of  many  birds  and  the  gentle
rustle of many leaves. I rest through happy moments of complete oblivion of all
suffering and pain, and the ache of many ages. Might I lie here, always, in this
soft light, soothed by the murmurings of living things, unruffled by inner and
outer storms! Glorious would it be to lie everlastingly here and sleep, sleep,
I  am  burning,  the  sun  is  viciously  glaring  on  me,  revengeful  of  my
momentary happiness. Where is my beloved tree and where are those happy
birds  with  their  happy  song?  Gaze  as  I  may,  nowhere  can  I  find  the  tree  of
happiness. Gone, gone, and I am alone once again. Was it a dream? Was it
the ancient unreality, taking a form that would give sure delight? Was it the pity
of  some  kind  God,  or  the  cruel  sport  of  a  God  unkind?  Was  it  the  great
promise  of  the  future?  Or  was  it  that some  mighty  Being  desired  to  test  the
strength of my forbearance? Many vanishing realities have I followed only to
hear  their  merciless  laughter  when  I  have  grasped  them;  but  here  I  thought   22
that  I  was  safe  from  their  old  and  bitter  sway,  their  barbarous  persecution
when I sought the lasting – the real. They have, then, pursued me even into
this far and lonely place? With infinite caution have I learned to disentangle the
real from the false, and when I thought I had mastered the supreme art, must I
begin again at the bottom of the difficult ladder?
When I commenced this path in the bygone ages, there was a firmness in
my tread; now again decision rules my steps, a new enthusiasm is born in me,
as of yore, when before the many sufferings and many sorrows I was eager to
face the unknown, and anxious to test my strength against the unweary path.
The  joy  of  struggle  is  surging  up  in  me  to  conquer  the  mighty  and  immortal
happiness. The path with its great force need no longer impel me forward; I
run faster, nor do my feet falter. I no longer lag behind. I am the Master of the
path. No longer need it spur me to act, for I am action; I am willing and I walk
in freedom.
The  path  stretches  mile  upon  mile,  age  upon  age;  steeper  than  of  yore,
narrower,  more  strenuous,  the  way  winds  precipitously,  leaving  behind  the
country of the past. Far below me lies the land of desolation and of immense
sorrow, where Unreality, in many shapes and in many a guise, rules the great
stricken  dominions.  Here,  at  this  altitude,  there  reigns  complete  silence;  the
silence smiles on me; but as I walk unceasingly on this mountainous way, the
recent  joy  is  dead  again,  my  weary  feet  falter  as  of  old,  and  I  long  for  that
beloved tree which shared with me its happy shade and the soft wooing songs
of the innumerable birds. That phantom tree gave me but the happiness of a
fleeting moment, and yet I was gratified with that temporary joy. I beseech the
same  God  who  extended  his  fitful  compassion  over  me,  to  grant  me  but  a
moment  of  shade,  the  happy  song  to  lull  the  aching  heart,  and  the
companionship. If it was a dream of fantasy, let me once more embrace it and
cling to it even though it be for a brief space! Though ephemeral was the taste
of that momentary pleasure, grateful was the rest in the deep, cool shadows.    23
Where art thou, my beloved, glorious unreality though thou be? Hast thou
forgotten  the  weary  traveler  who  sheltered  in  thy  calm  shade?  Though  thou
hast been a false comfort, yet how I crave for thee, to sink once more in thy
soft  arms,  forgetting  all  but  my  delicious  comfort.  Grant  me  thyself  but  this
once,  and  I  shall  be  thy  love  everlasting.  I  am  weary;  come  to  my  aid,  my
beloved,  with  thy  transient  beauty.  Lull  me  with  thy  false  murmurings,  and
encourage  me  with  thy  untrue  flattery.  I  am  spent  with  beseeching  and
exhausted with weariness, and I am in utter despair.
Far in the distance, there is a clump of trees surrounding a gay house, with
a sweet and fragrant garden. I am in it enjoying the cool, and the bewitching
smiles of many a beauteous maiden. I join in their fresh laughter and in their
merry-making. Their pleasure-laden voices soothe me and the soft music lulls
me to sleep. Here there is peace and quietness and complete forgetfulness. I
am happy and contented, for in this abode of pleasure is the joy for which I
have searched through innumerable ages; reality cannot exist but here. Am I
not satisfied? Am I not surrounded by all that I desire? Why did I endure, why
did  I  struggle?  For  here  is  balm  to  the  aching  heart  and  comfort  to  the
How  long,  or  how  many  ages,  or  how  many  days,  I  have  dwelt  in  this
pleasurable  abode,  I  cannot  tell;  nor  can  I  count  the  happy  hours  that  have
been  spent  here.  Once  again  the  unquenchable  longing  is  stirring  in  the
depths of my heart; it has awakened anew and tortures me. I cannot rest in
this  house  of  gratification;  the  contentment  which  it  promised  has  not  been
given  to  me;  there  is  no  happiness,  no  comfort  within  its  walls.  I  have  been
deceived with unrealities; I have feasted on untruth; I have been guided by the
light  of  false  reason,  and  I  have  worshipped,  as  of  yore,  at  the  temple  of
darkness.  I  have  cheated  myself  with  the  temporary  and  the  impermanent;
after  many  ages  and  much  pain  have  I  once  again  fallen  a  victim  to  the
mocking  gods.  Again  must  I  wander  forth;  again  must  I  face  the  unyielding
path.    24
Once more I am in the blazing sun, once more do I feel the strength to face
the  long  journey.  Fresh  enthusiasm  and  fresh  hopes  are  surging  in  me;
courage is born anew. The path of many ages smiles on me, promising once
more  to  be  the  passage  of  light.  Like  a  mighty  tree  that  has  bowed  down
before the stormy winds, but reasserts itself when they are stilled, and gazes
again, with head erect, into the unfathomable skies, defiant and sparkling in
the sun, so do I feel. Once more the joy of loneliness is pulsating through all
my  being,  and  the  solitude,  away  from  vain  pleasures  and  the  unmeaning
crowd, is like a breath of fresh wind that blows from the mountains. I am alive
once more eager to find the end of all sorrow, the glorious liberation. Happy is
the man who struggles!
Part III
The long sinuous path lies in front of me, and all life has ceased to exist
except for the one traveler on that lonely road.
I am throbbing with the excitement of a new and strenuous conquest, like a
general, proud and haughty, that marches into a vanquished town. I long for
greater and more difficult battles to be won, and I cry for the lack of them.
The solemn stillness breaks in upon my joy, and the grave quietness grips
me. I am humbled by the vast expanse, and the pitiless skies threaten me; the
pride of victory is broken, and its glory has departed; the terrible loneliness is
gently  and  slowly  overwhelming  me.  But  the  longing  to  attain  the  end  is
unabated; invincible is the strength, and the will to succeed is indomitable.
For how many centuries I have travelled I cannot count for my memory is
weary, but I have journeyed through many seasons. The path is as tired as he
who treads it, and both are crying for the end, but both are willing, the one to
lead, the other to follow.
On either side of the road there arise in the far distance, at fitful intervals,
tall and stately trees, tossing their bright heads in the sun, forgetting that they
were like plants once upon a time. Birds of all feathers, of all hue and of all   25
sizes, frequent them; their plaintive but happy cries reach my ears that have
not heard a sound for many an age, except the sound of weary footsteps.
As  I  approach  those  joyous  creatures  they  are  not  afraid,  but  gaze  with
supreme  indifference,  continuing  their  songs.  Under  the  shade,  the  green
grass sways to the soft music of the wind among the leaves. The strong tree,
the gay birds, and the humble grass, all welcome me and promise to lull me to
sleep.  It  is  so  close,  so  fragrant,  so  peaceful  to  the  worn  eyes  –  I  almost
hesitatingly  yield  –  but  there  arise  in  me  the  memories  of  other  trees,  other
birds and other shades so deliciously welcoming, yet so deceitful. My beloved
path smiles, watching and wondering what my actions will be, whether I shall
choose again the shadows.
It is cool under that tree, and blissful with the song of the birds and the soft
music of the rustling leaves. Ah! let me stay but a fleeting moment and then let
me pass on! The sun is hot and I am weary, and my body aches with the long
journey. The refreshing shadows can do me no harm – let  me but stay, Oh,
thou inexorable path, for a happy second! Long sleepless nights have I passed
with thee for many centuries, and dost thou grudge and deny me the sleep of
but  a  passing  moment?  Canst  thou  not  grant  me  this  one  pitiable  desire?
Whither hath fled thy love, thy infinite understanding? I implore thee not to turn
away from me, but to answer to my call.
A profound silence reigns. The wind has ceased to play with the leaves.
The  birds  are  quiet,  quiet  as  death,  and  the  mighty  tree  broods  in  deep
thought.  The  shadows  have  deepened,  there  prevails  a  greater  calm  and
greater cool; the green, tender grasses look on me with their small inquisitive
eyes, debating in their little minds as to the cause of my unforeseen faltering,
whispering  to  each  other  in  encouragement  at  my  plight.  The  path  of  many
experiences and great understanding smiles on my struggling hesitation, with
neither encouragement nor pleasure; it is a smile of wisdom and of knowledge,
which says: «Thou mayest do what thou desirest, but repentance awaits thee.»    26
My choice is made. Like morning mist that is gently dispelled by the first
warm rays of the slow-rising sun, so the magnificent tree of gratification fades
gradually  before  me;  the  gay  birds  melt  away  as  before  a  fast-approaching
storm,  and  the  green  grass  withers  in  the  burning  heat  of  the  sun.  There
remains only a faint vestige of the past. The path leads on and I humbly follow.
At  irregular  intervals  along  the  roadside  there  arise  trees,  inviting  me  to
taste  of  their  bright-coloured  and  luscious  fruit  and  enjoy  its  sweetness.  It
would soothe my parched throat and quench my burning thirst, but my path is
rigorous, and I pass them by. Further on there are magnificent houses, places
of pleasure and delight, their welcoming doors always open inviting the travel-
worn pilgrim. An age and many lives lie between house and house, and the
tired  traveller  is  the  too-willing  victim  of  their  charm.  Craving  for  their
enchanting  shelter,  many  a  time  have  I  hesitated  at  their  doorsteps,
sometimes straying into them and coming out with shame to walk again with
gladness on the clean, sunburnt path.
The house of strong and selfish passions, with its gross gratifications and
its impurities, have I entered, and have feasted on all that they could give. Oft
have I passed with lingering footsteps the house of many false shadows, the
house  of  satiety  with  its  fleeting  contentment,  the  house  of  flattery,  and  the
house of learning, where false and fugitive facts lull the ignorant; but only to be
enticed  into  the  house  of  the  love  that  limits,  that  is  selfish,  that  is  unkind,
forgetting  all  except  the  one;  the  love  that  clings,  the  love  that  desires;  the
narrow love of the father, of the mother, the sister, the brother, and the child;
the  love  that  slowly  and  pitilessly  destroys  the  nobler  feelings;  the  love  that
contents itself with little things.
Many a time have I crossed the threshold of the house of blissful ignorance,
of the brilliant house of vain flattery, and of the dismal house of black hate and
cunning  deceit.  Often  have  I  fallen  to  the  temptations  of  the  imperishable
house  of  intolerance,  to  the  boisterous  house  of  patriotism,  that  breeds
venomous and warring hate, and the house of solitary and cold pride, that is   27
unapproachable and untouchable. In the house of friendship that uproots the
friendship  of  others  and  is  consumed  with  jealousy,  and  in  the  house  of
concealed and talented vice, have I sojourned for many weary seasons. And I
have visited the house of small wisdom that excludes all knowledge except of
its own petty creation, and the house of little learning that understands little but
condemns  violently  and  clamorously  all  that  is  beyond  its  insignificant
Many a house of religion have I entered, dwelling within its narrow walls,
sleeping  in  the  lap  of  dark  superstition,  worshipping  false  gods,  sacrificing
innocent things at the temple’s altars, and taking part in futile, religious wars
and bitter persecution. Wandering into dark houses, have I sought light, and
have strayed forth blind and comfortless.
The sympathetic path ever understood me when I returned to its bare arms,
with  head  bowed  down,  with  shame  gnawing  at  my  heart;  it  ever  welcomed
me, promising to be my guide and my everlasting friend.
I can see on each side of the long pathway many temptations in delightful
shapes  and  forms,  but  they  are  not  for  me.  Let  others  be  enticed,  but  I  will
follow my ancient path. My sore need is to rest and to drink deep at the long-
promised source, and no longer do I desire to quench my immemorial thirst at
the shadowy fountains. Yet, as far as the eye can see, false things obstruct my
view.  Once  I  was  able  to  talk  quietly  and  for  many  an  hour  with  my  lonely
companion, the path, but now it is silent, overwhelmed by sound. Once there
was profound peace and tranquillity, but now the holy silence is broken by the
barbarous tongues of the multitude. Yet through these clamorous scenes and
continuous babble my path leads, and I follow without hesitation. How long I
have travelled through the land of false fantasies I cannot say, but unerring,
with  a  grave  deliberation,  have  I  adhered  to  my  pathway.  Always  the  path
mounts, and with aching limbs have I climbed, clinging desperately; but never
have  I  strayed  and  gone  down  into  the  dark  valley.  Many  centuries  have  I   28
struggled, resisting fleeting pleasures and inclinations; and yet in front of me
there ever springs up temptation in new and varied forms to beguile me.
True it is that I can never again be their victim, and yet….. Ye pitiless gods,
is there never an end to this goading misery and to this cruel and false land of
passing desires? For how many an age have I trod this path of righteousness!
Yet the end is still not in view. Or is this the goal of all my endurance? Nay, it
cannot be, for I have seen, once upon a time, in a far bygone age, the summit
of enlightenment. But for how many incarnations must I wander amidst sorrow
and tribulation before I knock at the portals of bliss? Without demand, without
question, and without lamentation, I must tread this path for another age.
I am weary and sick at heart; incarnations of great misery and pain have I
endured. Vain hopes and promises have made me strong; imperishable has
been my desire for the goal; persistent has been my blind groping after truth,
and  indestructible  my  ardent  enthusiasm.  Can  all  my  aching  sorrow  and  my
torture be in vain? Cannot my beloved path lead me to the mountain top, as it
has  constantly  and  faithfully  promised?  Still,  after  the  exquisite  pain  and
indescribable  longing,  does  the  pathway  lead  amidst  a  vast  expanse  of
shadowy illusions. Why? Ah! what have I done and what have I left undone,
what little things of life have I neglected, what sacrifices are there still to be
offered, what still greater agonies must I bear? What still greater purifications
must I undergo, what still fiercer burning must I sustain, and what still mightier
experience  of  torture  awaits  me  before  I  reach  that  abode  of  pure
enlightenment and sacred content?
The mother who bore me knew not what she did, and, had she known, the
milk that she nourished me with so tenderly would have turned to poison, and
would have spared me these neverending tortures. Happy would I have been
to cease upon the midnight hour, but idle is it to moan and hurl myself against
the  inevitable.  Blameless  is  my  dear  mother,  and  fruitlessly  do  I  clamour
against  the  pain  of  evolution.  And  in  the  end  this  groping  must  cease,  this
fumbling in the dark; for the door of knowledge must be found; there must be   29
the light that guides, the truth that gives contentment, the enlightenment that
brings calm happiness.
Oh!  I  can  no  longer  cry,  my  body  is  too  feeble  to  stand,  the  strength  is
gradually ebbing out of me – my entire being revolts against the merciless void.
Can no god turn his pitiful eyes on the lonesome, spent traveller? Ye Masters
of Wisdom, have compassion and shed that infinite mercy that can heal and
that can bring light to the wanderer in utter darkness. O, ye cool nights, compel
the fiery sun to depart hence and, ye dark clouds, cover up the burning rays!
Ah! for the strong hand that could lead and support me, the gentle voice that
could comfort and encourage me, the embrace and the kiss that could make
me forget! Forlorn am I and with a dying voice, I call…
The  voice  of  profound  quietness  answers  me  with  complete  silence,  and
the  void  echoes  that  dreadful  stillness.  My  beloved  path  smiles  on  me,  but,
pitifully and on all sides, even among the boisterous houses of mirth, deep and
awful quiet reigns, as on a night when some murderous deed is being enacted
or  when  the  churchyard  grave  opens  its  ponderous  jaws  as  in  a  subdued
yawn. I am exhausted, and I totter. The end of my very being draweth nigh.
Within  the  mind’s  eye  I  seem  to  perceive  the  vision  of  the  haven  of  perfect
peace  and  the  resting  place  for  the  weary  and  the  travel-worn.  Yet  for  how
many  an  age  must  I  still  endure  this  pain  of  the  mind,  this  surging
dissatisfaction, this grief of ages and these woes of bodily suffering, I cannot
tell. As far as the eye can scan, I see nothing but shifting and transient things.
Yet at each footstep there throbs in me the assurance that the end of the long
journey is at hand and approacheth like a ship at sea. May the deities that be
above hasten me towards my destination!
Suddenly the air has become still, breathless with some great expectation,
and there is a hush like that which comes for a moment after a glorious sunset,
when the whole world is in profound adoration. There is a deep silence as on a
night  when  the  distant  stars  waft  their  kisses  to  each  other,  there  is  an
unexpected tranquillity as that of a sudden cessation in a thunderous storm,   30
and there reigns a great peace as in the precincts of a sacred temple. Within
me the pain and sorrow of ages is partly stilled; there is a faint and soothing
murmuring in the air as my eyes softly close. All things animate and inanimate
are  resting  from  their  weary  toil.  The  whole  world  is  peacefully  asleep  and
dreaming  sweet  dreams.  The  sun,  whose  fiery  rays  have  for  so  many  ages
burnt  me  ruthlessly,  has  suddenly  become  kind,  and  there  is  a  coolness  as
that of a deep wooded forest. Divinity is taking shape within me.
The path has become much steeper and I feebly climb the difficult ascent.
As  I  mount  this  hill,  the  abodes  of  innumerable  pleasures  of  the  flesh,  the
houses of many desires and the green trees grow scarce, and as I reach the
summit the enticing fantasies entirely vanish. The path ever ascends in a long
straight line, the air is cooler and the climbing is easier. There is a fresh energy
born within me and I surge forward with renewed enthusiasm.
Far in the high distance my path vanishes into a thick grove of mighty and
ancient  trees.  I  dare  not  look  behind  or  on  either  side,  for  the  pathway  has
become precipitous and dangerously narrow. I traverse this perilous passage
in a spent and dreamy condition, with my eyes ever fixed on the far-off vision,
scarcely looking or caring where I tread. I am in great ecstasy, for the dim sight
ahead of me has inspired a deep and lasting hope. With a light footstep I am
running forward, fearful lest the happy image should dissolve and elude me, as
it  has  done  so  often.  There  is  not  another  traveller  in  front  of  me,  but  the
pathway  is  smooth  as  though  worn  by  thousands  of  footsteps  through
innumerable  ages;  it  shines  like  a  mirror;  it  is  slippery.  I  tread  as  though
walking in sleep, dreading to wake to false realities and transient things. The
vision stands out clear and more distinct as I rapidly approach.
The  gracious  Gods  have  at  last  answered  my  pitiful  calls  uttered  in  the
wilderness.  My  long  and  sorrowful  journey  has  come  to  an  end  and  the
glorious  journey  has  begun.  Far  ahead  there  are  other  paths  and  other
gateways,  at  whose  doors  I  shall  knock  with  greater  assurance  and  with  a
more  joyous  and  understanding  heart.  From  this  height  I  can  behold  all  the   31
paths that lie below me. They all converge to this point, though separated by
immeasurable distances; many are the travellers on these lonely paths, but yet
each traveller is proud in his blind loneliness and foolish separation. For there
are many who follow him and many who precede him. They have been like
me, lost in their own narrow path, avoiding and pushing aside the greater road.
They  struggle  blindly  in  their  ignorance,  walking  in  their  own  shadow  and,
clinging  desperately  to  their  petty  truths,  they  call  forth  despairingly  for  the
greater truth.
My  path  that  has  guided  me  through  rough  and  storm-laden  countries  is
beside  me.  I  am  gazing  with  welling  tears  at  those  weary  and  sorrow-eyed
travellers.  My  beloved,  my  heart  is  broken  at  the  cruel  sight;  for  I  cannot
descend and give them divine water to quench their vehement thirst. For they
must find the eternal source for themselves. But, ye merciful Gods, can I at
least  make  their  path  smoother  and  alleviate  the  pain  and  the  sorrow  which
they have created for themselves through ignorance and pitiful carelessness!
Come all ye that sorrow, and enter with me into the abode of enlightenment
and  into  the  shades  of  immortality.  Let  us  gaze  on  the  everlasting  light,  the
light which gives comfort, the light which purifies. The resplendent truth shines
gloriously  and  we  can  no  longer  be  blind,  nor  is  there  need  to  grope  in  the
abysmal darkness. We shall quench our thirst, for we shall drink deep at the
bubbling fountain of wisdom.
I  am  strong,  I  no  longer  falter;  the  divine  spark  is  burning  in  me;  I  have
beheld in a waking dream, the Master of all things and I am radiant with His
eternal joy. I have gazed into the deep pool of knowledge and many reflections
have I beheld. I am the stone in the sacred temple. I am the humble grass that
is mown down and trodden upon. I am the tall and stately tree that courts the
very heavens. I am the animal that is hunted. I am the criminal that is hated by
all.  I  am  the  noble  that  is  honoured  by  all.  I  am  sorrow,  pain  and  fleeting
pleasure; the passions and the gratifications; the bitter wrath and the infinite   32
compassion; the sin and the sinner. I am the lover and the very love itself. I am
the saint, the adorer, the worshipper and the follower. I am God.    33
The Search
I have been a wanderer long In this world of transient things. I have known
the passing pleasures thereof. As the rainbow is beautiful, But soon vanishes
into nothingness, So have I known, From the very foundation of the world, The
passing away of all things Beautiful, joyous and pleasurable.
In search of the Eternal I lost myself in the fleeting. All things have I tasted
in search of Truth.
In bygone ages Have I known The pleasures of the transient world – –
The tender mother with her children, The arrogant and the free, The beggar
that  wanders  the  face  of  the  earth,  The  contentment  of  the  wealthy,  The
woman of enticements, The beautiful and the ugly, The man of authority, the
man of power, The man of consequence, the bestower and the guardian, The
oppessed  and  the  opressor,  The  liberator  and  the  tyrant,  The  man  of  great
possessions, The man of renunciation, the sannyasi, The man of activity and
the  man  of  dreams,  The  arrogant  priest  in  gorgeous  robes,  and  the  humble
worshipper, The poet, the artist and the creator,
At all the altars of the world have I worshipped, All religions have known
me,  Many  ceremonies  have  I  performed,  In  the  pomp  of  the  world  have  I
rejoiced, In the battles of defeat and victory have I fought, The despiser and
the despised,
The man acquainted with grief And agonies of many sorrows, The man of
pleasure and abundance.
In the secret recesses of my heart have I danced, Many births and deaths
have  I  known,  In  all  these  fleeting  realms  have  I  wandered,  In  passing
ecstasies,  certain  of  their  endurance,  And  yet  I  never  found  that  eternal
Kingdom  of  Happiness.  Once  I  sought  for  Thee  –  –  The  imperishable  Truth,
The eternal Happiness, The culmination of all Wisdom – – On the mountain top,
In the star-lit sky, In the shadows of the soft moon, In the temples of man, In   34
the books of the learned, In the soft spring leaf, In the dancing waters, On the
face of man,
In the bubbling brook, In sorrow, in pain, In joy and ecstasy – – I did not find
As the mountaineer that climbs great heights, Leaving his many burdens at
each step, So have I climbed, Throwing aside all transient things.
As the sannyasi with his robes of gold, With the begging bowl of happiness,
So have I renounced.
As the gardener who kills The destructive weed of the garden, So have I
annihilated the self.
As the winds, So am I free and untrammelled.
Fresh and eager as the wind That seeketh the hidden places of the valley,
So  have  I  sought  The  secret  abodes  of  my  soul  And  purged  myself  of  all
things, past and present.
As, suddenly, the robes of silence Fall over the noisy world, So, instantly,
have I found Thee Deep in the heart of all things and in mine own.
On the mountain path I sat on a rock, And Thou wert beside me and in me,
All things being in Thee and in me. Happy is the man that findeth Thee and me
In all things.
In the light of the setting sun, Through the delicate lace of a spring tree, I
beheld  Thee.  In  the  twinkling  stars  I  beheld  Thee.  In  the  swift  passing  bird,
Disappearing into the black mountain, I beheld Thee.
Thy glory has awakened the glory in me.
As I have found, O world, The Truth, the eternal Happiness, So do I desire
to give.    35
Come let us consider together, ponder together and be happy together; Let
us reason together and bring forth Happiness.
As I have tasted And know full well the sorrows and pains, The ecstasies
and  joys  Of  this  fleeting  world,  So  do  I  know  your  travail.  The  glory  of  a
butterfly passeth in a day, So, O world, are thy delights and pleasures. As the
sorrows of a child, So, O world, are thy sorrows and pains, Many pleasures
leading  to  many  sorrows,  Many  sorrows  to  greater  sorrows,  Continual  strife
and ceaseless small victories. As the delicate bud, suffering the long winter,
Blossoms forth and gives delicious scent to the air, And withers away before
the setting of the sun, So are thy struggles, thy achievements, and thy death –
– A wheel of pain and pleasure, Birth and death.
As I lost myself in the transient things In search of that eternal Happiness,
So, O world, art thou lost in the fleeting. Awake and gather thy strength, Look
about  and  consider.  That  unfading  Happiness  –  –  The  Happiness  that  is  the
only Truth, The Happiness that is the end of all search, The Happiness that is
the end of all questionings and doubt, The Happiness that brings freedom from
birth and death, The Happiness that is the only law, The Happiness that is the
only refuge, The Happiness that is the source of all things, The Happiness that
gives  eternal  comfort,  That  true  Happiness  that  is  enlightenment  –  –  Abides
within thee.
As  I  have  gained  strength,  So  would  I  give  This  Happiness.  As  I  have
gained  affectionate  detachment,  So  would  I  give  This  Happiness.  As  I  have
gained  passionate  dispassion,  So  would  I  give  This  Happiness.  As  I  have
conquered life and death, So would I give This Happiness.
Throw aside, O world, thy vanities And follow me, For I know the way up
the mountain, For I know the way through this turmoil and grief.
There is only one One Truth, One Law, One Refuge, One Guide, To this
eternal Happiness.    36
Awake, arise, Consider and gather thy strength. As it is but for a night The
birds rest on a tree, So have I communed with strangers, In my long journey
Through many lands.
Out of every sheaf of corn I drew a blade.
Out of every day I gathered some advantage.
From the full-laden tree I plucked a ripe fruit.
My days are swifter Than the weaver’s shuttle.
As one beholds through a small window A single green leaf, a small patch
of  the  vast  blue  sky,  So  I  began  to  perceive  Thee,  In  the  beginning  of  all
things. As the leaf faded and withered, the patch covered as with dark cloud,
So didst Thou fade and vanish, but to be reborn again, As the single green
leaf, as the small patch of the blue sky.
For many lives have I seen The bleak winter and the green spring. prisoned
in my little room, I could not behold the entire tree nor the whole sky. I swore
there was no tree, nor the vast sky – – That was the Truth. Through time and
My window grew large. I beheld Now, A branch with many leaves, And a
greater patch of the blue with many clouds.
I forgot the single green leaf, the small patch of the vast blue. I swore there
was no tree, nor the immense sky – – That was the Truth.
Weary of this prison, This small cell, I raged at my window. With bleeding
fingers I tore away brick after brick, I beheld, Now, The entire tree, its great
trunk,  Its  many  branches,  its  thousand  leaves,  And  an  immense  part  of  the
sky. I swore there was no other tree, no other part to the sky – – That was the
Truth.    37
This prison no longer holds me, I flew away through the window. O friend, I
behold every tree and the vast expanse of the limitless sky. Though I live in
every single leaf and in every small patch of the vast blue sky, Though I live in
every prison, looking out through every small casement – – Liberated am I. Lo!
not a thing shall bind me – – This is the Truth. IV
O world, Thou art seeking everywhere for Happiness.
In  every  clime,  Among  all  peoples,  Among  the  animals  and  among  the
green trees, Beside the dancing waters, Upon the stately mountains, Amid the
cool valleys, And in the sun-parched lands, Under the serene star-lit skies, In
the radiance of the setting sun, In the freshness of the dawn – – All beings are
searching for this Happiness.
Though  thy  sons  build  impenetrable  walls  Around  their  country,  Shutting
out  the  happiness  they  seek,  Though  thy  learned  priests  fight  for  the  Gods
they  shall  worship,  Though  the  contentment  of  the  wealthy  be  stagnating,
Though  the  oppressed  and  the  exploited  be  suffering,  Though  the  man  of
thought  has  not  found  the  eternal  solution,  Though  the  sannyasi,  who
renounces the world, has not gained enlightenment, Though the beggar, that
wanders from house to house for kindness has not found shelter, Though thy
people prefer the darkness of the night to the light of day, Though thy people
turn night into day – – All are searching for that lasting Happiness.
As the dreary tree longingly suffers for the spring and green happiness, So
all thy people look for that lasting Happiness. The lady of fashion who depends
on clothes and wealth, The woman who is painted, The girl who flirts, The man
who seeks happiness in clothes, The man who drinks incessantly, The man
who cannot be happy unless playing at something, The man who kills to enjoy,
The  priest  in  his  gorgeous  robes,  The  recluse  with  the  loin  cloth,  The  actor
dressed to please the audience, The artist struggling to create, The poet who
pours  into  words  the  immensity  of  his  thoughts  and  dreams,  The  musician
whose  soul  is  thrilled  with  sound,  The  saint  in  his  asceticism,  The  sinner,  if   38
there  be  one,  who  does  not  care  for  God  or  man,  The  bourgeois  who  is
frightened of all things – – All these are searching for happiness.
They  buy  and  they  sell,  They  build  magnificent  palaces,  Surrounding
themselves with all the beauty That money can buy, They plant gardens, the
exquisite  delight  of  the  refined,  They  cover  themselves  with  jewels,  They
quarrel and they are charming, They drink without restraint, They eat without
restraint, They are virulent and pacific, They worship and curse, They love and
hate,  They  die  and  are  born  again,  They  are  cruel  to  man  and  beast,  They
destroy and create, They produce and annihilate – – Yet they are all seeking
happiness,  Happiness  in  transient  things.  The  rose,  beautiful  and  glorious,
Dieth tomorrow.
In search of happiness They build vast structures, Call them Churches, And
enter therein, But it eludes them, as in the naked streets. They invent a God to
satisfy themselves, But they never find in Him what they long for. The incense,
the  flowers,  the  candles,  The  gorgeous  robes,  the  thrilling  music,  Are  but
enticements  for  that  search.  The  deep  note  of  the  distant  bell,  The
monotonous prayer, Calling, crying and begging, Are but the gropings in the
dark For that lasting Happiness.
In search of happiness They build cool, gigantic Temples, The product of
many  minds,  The  work  of  many  hands;  The  chantings,  the  smoke  of  the
camphor, The beauty of the sacred lotus, Do not satisfy their craving.
In  search  of  happiness  They  bribe,  they  corrupt,  they  make  unholy  The
earth, the seas and mountains. Their graven images do not answer their call.
As  the  mountain  stream  sweeps  all  things  before  it,  So  is  their  structure  of
happiness  destroyed  in  an  instant;  They  destroy  each  other  in  their  jealous
In search of happiness They give labels, pretty-sounding names To each
other, And think they have found The source of Eternity, Solved the problem of
their sorrow.    39
In search of happiness They marry, rejoicing in their new-found happiness;
They are happy as the flower That blossoms with the sun And dies with the
sun.  They  change  their  love  and  renew  their  rejoicings.  They  are  full  and
bubbling over With ecstasy, And, in an instant,
Sorrow is the outcome of their fleeting joy.
As the cloud, fully laden, that empties itself And vanishes from the heavens,
Leaving again the barren sky, So is their love, that is full, That is powerful, that
creates  and  destroys.  Their  love,  so  triumphant  in  the  beginning,  So  strong
with  desires,  So  beautiful  in  the  full  bloom,  So  unrestrained  in  its  fulfillment,
Fades  as  the  leaf.  To  be  born  again,  Fading  again  as  the  leaf.  As  the
sorrowing  tree  That  has  lost  its  happy  leaves,  So  is  the  man  Who  sought
happiness Through love.
In  solitude,  In  crowded  streets,  They  search  for  happiness,  All  the  world
moans for happiness. The winds whisper, The storms threaten, But the man
looks for happiness In the passing things, In the transient things, In the things
that he can touch and perceive, And groans after the loss of his happiness, As
the child that cries After the broken doll.
For their happiness fades and withers As the tender leaf.
Search their hopes, Their longings, Their desires,
Their  selfishness,  Their  quarrels  and  angers,  Their  dignities,  Their
ambitions,  Their  glories,  Their  rewards,  Their  distinctions  –  –  There  is
disillusionment, There is vanity, There is unhappiness.
Search their class distinctions, Their spiritual distinctions, Their limitations,
Their openness, Their prejudices, Their embraces – – There is an uncertainty of
purpose, There is an uncertainty of happiness.
Wherever you may look, Wherever you may wander, In whatever clime you
may  abide,  There  is  sorrow,  there  is  pain,  Unsatisfiable  voids,  Open  aching
wounds,  bared  and  exposed,  Or  covered  over  With  the  panoply  of  great   40
rejoicing.  No  man  sayeth  –  -«My  happiness  is  indestructible.»  There  is
everywhere decay and death, And the renewal of life.
So are they that seek happiness in the passing – – Their happiness is of the
moment. As the butterfly, that tasteth the honey of every flower, That dieth in
the day, As the desert that is deluged with the rain Yet remaineth a weary land
without a shadow – – So is their happiness As the sands of the sea are their
actions In search of this happiness. As the aged and mighty tree
That towers into the sky And is felled by the axe in a moment – – So is their
They  look  to  their  happiness  In  the  transient,  In  the  fleeting,  In  the
objective, And they find it not. Such is their fleeting and unsatisfied happiness.
Can you grow the tree of Happiness on sand?
The Happiness that will not fade by usage, That increases by action, That
increases by feeling, That is born of Truth, That never decays, That knows no
beginning,  no  end,  That  is  free,  The  Happiness  that  is  Eternal,  They  have
never tasted.
The  Happiness  that  knows  Of  no  loneliness,  Of  immense  certainty,  Of
detachment, Of love that is free of persons, That is free from prejudices, That
is not bound by tradition, That is not bound by authority, That is not bound by
superstitions, That is of no religion. The Happiness That is not at the command
of another, That is of no priest, That is of no sect, That requires no labels, That
is bound by no law, That cannot be shaken by God or man, That is solitary and
embraces all, That blows from the snow-clad mountains That blows from the
hot desert, That burns, That heals, That destroys, That creates, That delights
in solitude and in numbers, That fills the soul through Eternity. That is the God,
The  wife,  the  mother,  The  husband,  the  father,  And  the  child.  That  is  of  no
class, That is of the aristocracy of divinity, That is the refinement of the refined,
That is a philosophy unto itself. That is as vast as the seas, That is open as
the skies, That is profound as the lake, That is tranquil as the peaceful valley,   41
That is serene as the mountain, That is beyond the shadow of death, That is
beyond the limitations of birth, That is as the strength of the hills, That bears
the fruit of many generations, That is the consummation of all desire, That is
the  ecstasy  of  purpose,  That  is  the  source  of  all  existence,  That  is  the  well
whose waters feed the worlds, That is the ecstasy, the joy, That is the dancing
star of our being, That giveth divine discontentment, That is born of Eternity,
That  is  the  destruction  of  self,  That  is  the  pool  of  wisdom,  That  creates
happiness in others That has dominion over all things – – Such happiness thou
hast never tasted, O world.
For thou hast been fed on the food of another, Thou hast been taught by
the lips of another, Thou hast been taught to draw thy strength from another,
Thou hast been taught that thy happiness lies in another, That thy redemption
is at the hands of another, That wisdom is in the mouth of another, That Truth
can only be attained through another, Thou hast been taught to worship the
God of another, To adore at the altar of another, To discipline thyself to the
authority of another, To shape thyself in the mould of another, To abide in the
shadow  of  another,  To  grow  in  the  protection  of  another,  Thou  hast  been
taught to lay thy foundations in another, To hear with the ears of another, To
feel  with  the  heart  of  another,  To  think  with  the  mind  of  another;  Thou  hast
been fed with the enticements of transient things, Thou hast been fed with the
food  that  never  satisfies,  Thou  hast  been  fed  with  the  knowledge  that
disappears with strife. Thou hast been fed at the hands of the satisfied, With
the false and the fleeting.
Thou hast been nourished by laws, by governments, by philosophies, Thou
hast  been  led,  driven  and  exposed,  Thou  hast  been  sheltered  under  the
shadow That changes from moment to moment, Thou hast been nurtured by
false truths and false gods, Thou hast been stimulated by false desires, Thou
hast  been  fed  on  false  ambitions,  Thou  hast  been  fed  with  the  fruits  of  the
earth, O world.    42
Thou  hast  been  taught  to  seek  Truth  in  the  fleeting,  Thou  hast  been
nourished by the transient things, In these thou shalt never find that Happiness
For which thy soul doth seek and suffer.
But, As the diver plunges deep into the sea For the pearl,
Risking his life in search of the transient, So must thou plunge deep down
within  thyself  In  search  of  Eternity.  As  the  adventurous  mountaineer  that
climbs to conquer, So must thou climb to that intoxicating height, Where thou
seest all things in their true proportion. As the lotus that pushes heavenward
through  mire,  So  must  thou  push  aside  all  transient  things  If  thou  wouldst
discover  that  Kingdom  of  Happiness.  As  the  majestic  tree  depends  for  its
strength on its hidden roots, And plays with the great passing winds, So must
thou  establish  thy  hidden  strength  deep  within  thyself,  And  play  with  the
passing world. As the swift-running river knows its source, So must thou know
thine own being. As the soft blue lake whose depth no man knows, So must
thy depth be unfathomable. As the seas contain a multitude of living things, So
in  thee  are  there  hidden  secrets  of  the  worlds.  As  on  the  mountain  side,  at
various  altitudes,  different  flowers  grow,  So  in  thee  are  there  degrees  of
beauty. As the earth is full of hidden treasures which no man hath seen, So in
thee are hidden secrets, unknown to thyself.
As the winds possess immense, inexhaustible power, So in thee lieth great
unconquerable energy. As the mountain-tops dance in the light of the sun, So
shalt thou dance in the light of thy knowledge. As there is an ever-changing
vision  on  the  winding  mountain  path,  So  in  thee  there  is  a  constant
unfoldment. As the distant star that scintillates of a dark night, So is he that
hath discovered himself.
In thee alone is the God, for there is no other God, Thou art the God that all
religions  and  nations  worship,  In  thee  alone  are  joy,  ecstasy,  power  and
strength, In thee alone is the power to grow, to change and alter, In thee alone
are the experiences of many ages gathered, In thee alone is the source of all
things – – Love, hate, jealousy, fear, anger and sweetness – – In thee alone lies   43
the power to create or to destroy, In thee alone is the beginning of all thought,
feeling and action, In thee alone lies nobility, In thee alone is no loneliness.
Thou art the master of all things. Thou art the source of all things.
In thee alone lies the power to do good and to do evil, In thee alone lies the
power to create Heaven and Hell, In thee alone lies the power to control the
future  and  the  present.  Thou  art  the  master  of  Time,  In  thee  alone  is  the
Kingdom of Happiness, In thee alone is the eternal Truth, In thee alone is the
well  of  inexhaustible  Love.  O  world,  If  thou  wouldst  know  all  the  hidden
secrets, The treasures of many ages,
The  experiences of  many  centuries, The accumulation of power of many
generations, The thought of the past, The ecstasies, joys, sorrow and pain of
bygone  ages,  And  the  great  and  foolish  actions  of  the  many  lives  that  lie
behind thee, The centuries of uncertainty and doubt, If thou wouldst know of
the immense future, Of the great heights of joyous growth, Of the adventure of
good and evil, Of the result of all thought, of all feelings, and of all actions, Of
the many past lives and of the many future lives, If thou wouldst know of thy
hates, of thy jealousies, Of thine agonies, of thy pleasures and pains, Of thine
ecstatic  love,  of  thy  joyous  rapture,  Of  thy  burning  devotion,  of  thy  bubbling
enthusiasm,  Of  thy  joyous  seriousness,  of  thine  aching  worship,  Of  thine
unrestrained  adoration,  If  thou  wouldst  concern  thyself  with  the  lasting,  With
the eternal, with the indestructible, With divinity, with immortality, With wisdom
which is the pool of Heaven,
If  thou  wouldst  know  of  that  everlasting  Kingdom  of  Happiness,  If  thou
wouldst know of that beauty that never fades or decays, If thou wouldst know
of that truth that is imperishable and alone – – Then, O world, Look deep within
thyself With eyes clear, if thou wouldst perceive all things.
As the tranquil pool that reflects the heavens above, So shall all things find
their reflection in thee. As the flower that blossoms forth in the warm sunshine,
So must thou unfold if thou wouldst know thyself. As the eagle soars into the   44
heavens,  unrestrained  and  free,  So  must  thou  soar  if  thou  wouldst  know
thyself. As the river that dances down to the sea, So must thou dance if thou
wouldst  know  thyself.  As  the  mountain  is  strong  and  full  of  power,  So  must
thou be if thou wouldst know thyself. As the precious stone sparkles in the sun,
So must thou shine if thou wouldst know thyself. As the mother is to the babe,
tender  with  affection,  So  must  thou  be  if  thou  wouldst  know  thyself.  As  the
winds  are  free  and  untrammelled,  So  must  thou  be  if  thou  wouldst  know
If thou wouldst taste of all these things, O world, And walk with me in the
Kingdom  of  Happiness,  Thou  must  be  free  from  that  poison  of  Truth  –  –
Prejudice – – For thou art immense in thy prejudice, Both the ancient and the
inexperienced.  Thou  must  be  free  from  that  narrowness  of  tradition,  The
narrowness of custom, habit, feeling and thought, The narrowness of religion,
worship  and  adoration,  The  narrowness  of  nation,  The  narrowness  of  family
and of possession, The narrowness of love, The narrowness of friendship, The
narrowness of thy God and of thy form of approach to Him, The narrowness of
thy  conception  of  beauty,  The  narrowness  of  thy  work  and  of  thy  duty,  The
narrowness of thine achievements and glories, The narrowness of thy desires,
ambitions and purpose, The narrowness of thy longings and satisfactions, The
narrowness of thy discontentments and contentments, The narrowness of thy
struggles  and  victories,  The  narrowness  of  thine  ignorance  and  knowledge,
The narrowness of thy teachings and laws, The narrowness of thine ideas and
views – – Thou must be free from all these.
Prejudice is as a shadow On the face of the mountain, As a dark cloud In
the fair skies, As the withered rose That ceases to delight the world, As the
blight that destroys The bloom of a ripe fruit, As the bird that has lost
The power of its wings, As the man that hath no ears, Deaf to sweet music,
As the man that hath no eyes, Blind to the gorgeous sunset, As the delights of
experience To the man that is enfeebled.    45
Prejudice is as the agitated lake That cannot reflect the beauty of the skies,
As a barren rock of the mountain, As the weary land of a shadowless country,
As the dry bed of the river That knows not the delights Of the waters of many
summers, As the tree that has lost its green happiness, As the woman that is
childless, As the breath of winter That withereth all things, As the shadow of
death In a happy land.
Prejudice  is  evil,  It  is  a  corrupter  of  the  world,  It  is  a  destroyer  of  the
beautiful, It is the root of all sorrow, It has its being in ignorance, It is a state of
utter  darkness  where  light  cannot  find  its  way,  It  is  an  abomination,  A  sin
against truth.
If thou wouldst know thyself, Thou must cut thyself free from this weed that
binds  thee,  That  suffocates  thee,  That  destroys  thy  vision,  That  kills  thine
affection, That prevents thy thought.
When  thou  art  free,  untrammelled,  When  thy  body  is  controlled  and
relaxed,  When  thine  eyes  can  perceive  all  things  in  their  pure  nakedness,
When thy heart is serene and burdened with affection, When thy mind is well
poised, Then, O world, The gates of that Garden, The Kingdom of Happiness,
Are open.
From the ancient of times, From the very foundation of the earth, The end
for all things Have I known.
As the mighty river knows At the very beginning of its birth The end of its
long journey, Though it wander through many lands, So have I known.
As  in  the  time  of  winter  The  barren  tree  Knows  the  coming  joys  of  the
spring, So have I known. Long have I wandered Through many lives, In many
lands, Amidst many peoples, In search of this end I have known.
As  the  stagnant  pools  that  are  purified  With  the  coming  rains,  So  had  I
remained Motionless, Till the hurricane of sorrow Cleansed me.    46
Burdened  have  I  been  With  many  possessions,  With  the  wealth  of  the
world, With the comforts that bring stagnation.
Rejoiced  have  I  been  In  the  satisfaction  of  a  multitude  of  things,  Till  the
storm of tears Washed away the pride of abundance. And as the lands of the
desert Are without shadows, So had my life become.
I worshipped at the altars Of way-side shrines, Whose Gods have denied
me Of the end that I have known.
Their  priests  held  me  In  thrall  By  the  magic  of  their  words,  By  the
intoxication  of  their  incense.  In  the  sheltering  shadows  of  the  temple  walls  I
remained, in darkness
Weeping for the end I have known. Till anew The whirlwind of pain Threw
me out again On the open road.
I  created  philosophies,  and  creeds,  Complicated  theories  of  life;  I  buried
myself In the intellectual creations of man, Great in the arrogance thereof. As
of  a  sudden  The  storm  breaks,  So  was  I  left  naked,  Overwhelmed  by  the
agony Of the transient things.
Great was my love, Immense was the satisfaction thereof.
I sang, I danced In the ecstasy of my love, But as fades the tender rose In
the full days of summer, So my love withered In the full days of my enjoyment.
I was as empty as the wide skies, I wept for the end I have known.
Renouncing all, As naked as I came, I withdrew from the world of pleasure,
In solitude, Under the great trees, In seclusion Of the peaceful valley, I sought
for  the  end  That  my  soul  cried  for,  The  end  that  I  have  known  Through  the
ages of time. As the flower sleeps of a night, Withholding its glory For the joys
of the morrow, So, gathering my strength, I delved deep Into the secret stores
of my heart For the joy of discovery. As one beholds the light At the end of a
dark passage, So I beheld The end of my search, The end I have known.    47
As the builder Lays brick upon brick, For the edifice of his desire, So, from
the ancient of times, from the very foundation of the earth, Have I gathered,
The dust of experience, Life after life, For the consummation Of my heart’s
Behold! My house is complete and full, And now I am free to depart.
As the mighty river knows At the very beginning of its birth The end of its
long journey, So have I known.
As  in  the  time  of  winter  The  barren  tree  Knows  the  coming  joys  of  the
spring, So have I known.
From the ancient of times, From the very foundation of the earth, The end
for all things Have I known.
Lo! the hour has come, The hour that I have known. Liberated am l, Free
from life and death, Sorrow and pleasure call me no more, Detached am I in
affection, Beyond the dreams of the Gods am l.
As the moon is full and serene In the days of harvest, So am I In the days
of my Liberation. Simple as the tender leaf am I, For in me are many winters
and many springs.
As the dewdrop is of the sea, So am I born In the ocean of liberation.
As the mysterious river Enters the open seas, So have I entered Into the
world of Liberation.
This is the end I have known.    48
The Immortal Friend
Wherever I look, Thou art there. I am full of Thy glory. I am burning with Thy
happiness. I weep for all men That do not behold Thee. In what manner Shall I
show them Thy glory?
I sat a-dreaming in a room of great silence. The early morning was still and
breathless, The great blue mountains stood against the dark skies, cold and
clear, Round the dark log house The black and yellow birds were welcoming
the sun.
I  sat  on  the  floor,  with  legs  crossed,  meditating,  Forgetting  the  sunlit
mountains, The birds, The immense silence, And the golden sun.
I lost the feel of my body, My limbs were motionless, Relaxed and at peace.
A  great  joy  of  unfathomable  depth  filled  my  heart.  Eager  and  keen  was  my
mind, concentrated. Lost to the transient world, I was full of strength.
As  the  Eastern  breeze  That  suddenly  springs  into  being  And  calms  the
weary world, There in front of me Seated cross-legged, As the world knows
Him  In  His  yellow  robes,  simple  and  magnificent,  Was  the  Teacher  of
Looking at me, Motionless the Mighty Being sat, I looked and bowed my
head, My body bent forward of itself.
That  one  look  Showed  the  progress  of  the  world,  Showed  the  immense
distance  between  the  world  And  the  greatest  of  its  Teachers.  How  little  it
understood, And how much He gave. How joyously He soared, Escaping from
birth and death, From its tyranny and entangling wheel.
Enlightenment attained, He gave to the world, as the flower gives Its scent,
The Truth.
As I looked at the sacred feet That once trod the happy Dust of India, My
heart poured forth its devotion, Limitless and unfathomable, Without restraint   49
and  without  effort.  I  lost  myself  in  that  happiness.  My  mind  so  easily  and
strangely Understood the Truth He longed for and attained. I lost myself in that
happiness. My soul grasped the infinite simplicity Of Truth. I lost myself in that
Thou art the Truth, Thou art the Law, Thou art the  Refuge, Thou art the
Guide, The Companion and the Beloved. Thou hast ravished my heart, Thou
hast conquered my soul, In Thee have I found my comfort, In Thee is my truth
Where Thou hast trodden, Do I follow.
Where  Thou  hast  suffered  and  conquered,  Do  I  gather  strength.  Where
Thou hast renounced, Do I grow, Dispassionate, detached.
Like the stars Have I become. Happy is he that knoweth Thee Eternally.
Like the sea, unfathomable Is my love. The Truth have I attained, And calm
grows my spirit.
But  yesterday  I  longed  to  withdraw  From  the  aching  world  Into  some
secluded mountain spot, Untrammelled, Free, Away from all things, In search
of Thee. And now Thou hast appeared Unto me.
I carry Thee in my heart. Look where I may, Thou art there, Calm, happy,
Filling my world – – The embodiment of Truth.
My  heart  is  strong,  My  mind  is  concentrated,  I  am  full  of  Thee.  As  the
Eastern breeze That suddenly springs into being, And calms the weary world,
So have I realized.
I  am  the  Truth,  I  am  the  Law,  I  am  the  Refuge,  I  am  the  Guide,  The
Companion and the Beloved.
II    50
Look where I may, Thou art there, Calm, happy, Filling my world – – The
embodiment of Truth.
As one beholds a light In the dark At a distance, I saw Thee. I have walked
towards Thee Through many lives – – In sorrow, in joy, In doubt, in suspicion,
Over thorns, over fair fields, On the pavements of crowded cities.
I have known From the very foundation of the earth Of Thy glory, Of Thine
existence, Of Thy beauty, that thrilled my soul. Never was I certain, Never was
I allowed to be at peace With myself, With man, Or with the fair heavens. Out
of the great uncertainty, Certainty was born.
Like the Eastern breeze That suddenly springs into being And calms the
weary world,
So have I realized. I walk henceforth in Thy shadow.
Because  Thou  art  my  eternal  Companion,  I  am  strong  –  –  Strong  as  the
stream That rushes down the mountain side. Because Thou art my counselor,
I am unshakable, Because of Thee, I am full of wisdom, Because Thou hast
sent  me  out,  I  am  as  nothing,  as  the  passing  wind,  But  because  Thou  hast
shown Thyself to me, I am as the rivers That dance down to the sea.
Because of Thy bidding, Whatever I do is for Thee. My heart is aflame, For
I have come near unto Thee Everlastingly.
Each breath is transforming me Into Thine image.
Because Thou hast given me, I am full, Full as the ocean, Though all the
rivers Do flow into it.
Thy majesty has awakened The power in me To shout from the mountain
tops Thy truth.
Thy look Has burnt away The dross. I am pure. I am holy.    51
What the rose is to the rose petal, So art Thou to me. As the mountain top
That disappears into the clouds, So my love for Thee Disappears Into space.
As on the sunlit sea the waters dance, Joyous in their ecstasy, So is my
heart  Dancing  for  love  of  Thee.  As  the  small  raindrop  Mingles  in  the  vast
ocean, So have I lost Myself In Thee.
As the shadows Grow of an evening, So has my soul Grown immense In
Thy Light.
My love for Thee Has awakened the love For all. I must bring the world To
Thee. I must make Thee Their eternal Companion. They must know Thee As I
know Thee – – The perfect, The simple, The glorified, The Fountain of Truth.
Knowing  Thee,  They  will  set  aside  their  toys,  Their  small  worlds,  their
playthings, Their pomp, The entanglements Of their religions, Their rites, Their
What is religion? What is worship? What are the temples And altars Of the
Thou art the end Of all sorrow, Of all joy, Of all knowledge, Of all search.
Thou  art  the  goal  of  all  things.  In  Thee  alone  lies  Enlightenment  –  –  The
Happiness of the world.
Look where I may, Thou art there, Calm, happy, Filling my world – – The
embodiment of Truth.
I  am  the  Truth,  I  am  the  Law,  I  am  the  Refuge,  I  am  the  Guide,  the
Companion and the Beloved.
Through  the  austere  dignity  of  the  yellow  robe  Thou  wert  born  unto  me.
Through the certainty of knowledge Thou hast appeared unto me. Through the
immensity of happiness Thou hast shown Thyself unto me. Through the great   52
silence of the morning Thou hast created the universe unto me. Through the
sunlight of the world Thou hast carried me to the mountain top.
And unto me Thou wert born.
Over  Thy  head  was  the  flame  That  burns  away  all  sorrow,  All  pain,  all
anxiety.  Thy  face  was  like  unto  the  rose petal, Perfect, soft,  lovely,  Youthful
with the age of many centuries. In Thy face I beheld my own face. In Thine
eyes  was  the  laughter  of  Youth,  The  delight  of  the  Spring,  The  joyous
merriment of the world.
The music of Thy flute Hath ravished my heart. There is born in me A new
tender merriment. The sea of many waters Hath entered into my heart: The
bubbling brook, The boisterous storm, The angry waters, The pleasant breeze.
I smell the flowers at Thy feet, I behold the lane Where walks the world,
The dust, the cow, And the cow-herd.
The scent of the sacred flower fills the air, I hear the temple bells, And the
laughter of the world.
The jewels of the world Are in Thine eyes.
The world weeps for Thee In their wild and merry dancing.
O Love, with the flute, Thou art myself.
O Beloved, Thou art the ecstasy of my soul.
I have found Thee Through the happiness of many lives.
O world, In thee I behold the face of my Beloved. IV
He  walked  towards  me  and  I  stood  still.  My  heart  and  soul  gathered
strength. The trees and the birds listened with unexpected silence. There was
thunder in the skies – – Then, utter peace.    53
I saw Him look at me, And my vision became vast. My eyes saw and my
mind understood. My heart embraced all things, For a new love was born unto
A new glory thrilled my being, For He walked before me, and I followed, my
head high. The tall trees I saw through Him, Gently waving in welcome, The
dead  leaf,  the  mud,  The  sparkling  water  and  the  withered  branches.  The
heavily  laden  and  chattering  villagers  Walked  through  Him  –  ignorant  and
laughing, The barking dogs rushed, through Him, at me. A barrack of a house
became  an  enchanted  abode,  Its  red  roof  melting  into  the  setting  sun.  The
garden was a fairy land, The flowers were the fairies.
Standing against the dark evening sky, I saw Him In His eternal glory.
He walked before me Down the little narrow path, Always looking, while I
He was at the door of my room, I passed through Him. purified with a new
song in my heart, I remain.
He  is before  me  forever. Look where  I  may,  He  is  there.  I  see  all  things
through Him. His glory has fllled me and awakened a glory that I have never
An eternal peace is my vision, Glorifying all things. He is ever before me.
The sun was setting As I stood on a hill-top, Watching it disappear Behind
the mountains.
In the midst of that radiance, Clad in a cloud of yellow, Thou wert seated.
The whole vast heaven paused in adoration. The sky, the clouds, In robes
of yellow, Were Thy worshippers, Thy disciples.    54
The mortal world joined in Thine adoration, Shouting with joy – – The birds,
The  distant  valley,  The  passing  vehicles  Far  away,  The  cricket,  The
grasshopper, The wind And the trees.
The  black  mountains  Stood  amazed  In  their  dance,  Fearing  their  own
Mighty sight.
Then utter silence – – All things perceiving Thee As Thou art.
In that great silence An immense desire Was born in me To bring the world
to Thee, To Thy perfection And to Thy happiness.
Thou art the only altar, Though men worship At the altars Of many temples.
Thine is the only Imperishable Truth,
Though men clothe it By many names.
I love the world, And all the things thereof. I will bring the world To adore
Thee, To worship Thee; For Thy beauty Is truth.
Immense happiness Fills my being, For I have found Thee. Thou shalt not
disappear Though a thousand suns Shall set over the mountain.
As the sunset Grows more splendid From moment to moment, Changing
constantly, So my desire For Thee Grows More glorious, More perfect. It shall
fill The heart of all men, Till Thy perfection Be perceived.
In Thine eye Is the whirlwind, The soft breeze, The sacred Himavat, The
low plain, The happy valley, And the blue skies – – All things are in Thee.
Thou art the happiness Of the world. The path of Happiness Is the path of
O listen! I shall sing to thee the song of my Beloved.    55
Where  the  soft  green  slopes  of  the  still  mountains  Meet  the  blue
shimmering  waters  of  the  noisy  sea,  Where  the  bubbling  brook  shouts  in
ecstasy, Where the still pools reflect the calm heavens, There thou wilt meet
with my Beloved.
In the vale where the cloud hangs in loneliness, Searching the mountain for
rest, In the still smoke climbing heavenwards, In the hamlet towards the setting
sun, In the thin wreaths of the fast disappearing clouds, There thou wilt meet
with my Beloved.
Among  the  dancing  tops  of  the  tall  cypress,  Among  the  gnarled  trees  of
great  age,  Among  the  frightened  bushes  that  cling  to  the  earth,  Among  the
long creepers that hang lazily, There thou wilt meet with my Beloved.
In the plowed fields where noisy birds are feeding, On the shaded path that
winds along the full, motionless river, Beside the banks where the waters lap,
Amidst the tall poplars that play ceaselessly with the winds, In the dead tree of
last summer’s lightning, There thou wilt meet with my Beloved.
In the still blue skies Where heaven and earth meet, In the breathless air, In
the  morn  burdened  with  incense,  Among  the  rich  shadows  of  a  noon-day,
Among the long shadows of an evening, Amidst the gay and radiant clouds of
the setting sun, On the path on the waters at the close of the day, There thou
wilt meet with my Beloved.
In the shadows of the stars, In the deep tranquillity of dark nights, In the
reflection  of  the  moon  on  still  waters,  In  the  great  silence  before  the  dawn,
Among the whispering of waking trees, In the cry of the bird at morn, Amidst
the wakening of shadows, Amidst the sunlit tops of the far mountains, In the
sleepy face of the world, There thou wilt meet with my Beloved.
Keep still, O dancing waters, And listen to the voice of my Beloved.
In the happy laughter of children Thou canst hear Him. The music of the
flute Is His voice. The startled cry of a lonely bird Moves thy heart to tears, For   56
thou hearest His voice. The  roar  of  the  age-old  sea  Awakens  the  memories
That  have  been  lulled  to  sleep  By  His  voice.  The  soft  breeze  that  stirs  The
treetops lazily, Brings to thee the sound Of His voice.
The thunder among the mountains Fills thy soul With the strength
Of  His  voice.  In  the  roar  of  a  vast  city,  Through  the  shrill  moan  of  swift
passing vehicles, In the throb of a distant engine, Through the voices of the
night,  The  cry  of  sorrow,  The  shout  of  joy,  Through  the  ugliness  of  anger,
Comes the voice of my Beloved.
In the distant blue isles, On the soft dewdrop, On the breaking wave, On
the  sheen  of  waters,  On  the  wing  of  the  flying  bird,  On  the  tender  leaf  of
spring, Thou wilt see the face of my Beloved.
In  the  sacred  temple,  In  the  halls  of  dancing,  On  the  holy  face  of  the
sannyasi, In the lurches of the drunkard, With the harlot and with the chaste,
Thou wilt meet with my Beloved.
On the fields of flowers, In the towns of squalor and dirt, With the pure and
the unholy, In the flower that hides divinity, There is my well-Beloved.
Oh!  the  sea  Has  entered  my  heart.  In  a  day,  I  am  living  a  hundred
summers. O friend, I behold my face in thee, The face of my well-Beloved.
This is the song of my love.
As  the  rain  cleanses  The  tree  by  the  roadside,  So  the  dust  of  ages  Has
been washed away in me.
As the tree sparkles In the sun After the soft rain, So my soul delighteth In
Thee. As the tree Looketh to its roots For its immense strength,
So do I look to Thee Who art the root of my strength.    57
As  the  smoke  mounteth  heavenwards  In  a  straight  column,  Of  a  still
evening So have I grown Towards Thee.
As the little pool On the road Reflecteth the face of heaven, So my heart
Reflecteth Thy happiness.
As the solitary cloud That hangs over the mountain The envy of the valley,
So have I hung, For generation after generation, In a lonely place.
As the great cloud That hasteneth
Before the mighty wind, So descend I Into the valley. Into the valley Where
there  is  sorrow  And  transient  happiness,  Where  there  is  birth  and  death,
Where there is shadow and light, Where there is strife and a passing peace,
Where there is comfort of stagnation, Where to think is to grieve, Where to feel
is to create sorrow. Into that valley I shall descend, For I have conquered, For
in me Thou art born.
As the light pierces through darkness, So Thy truth Shall pierce the world.
As  the  rain  purifieth  the  earth  And  cleanseth  all  things  thereof,  So  shall  I
cleanse the world With Thy truth. For many ages, Through many lives, Have I
prepared, But now, Behold, the cup is full.
The world shall drink of it. Man shall grow Into Thy divinity. Thy happiness
shall shine On his face. For Thy messenger Shall go forth.
I am he That openeth the heart of man, That giveth comfort.
I  am  the  truth,  I  am  the  Law,  I  am  the  Refuge,  I  am  the  Guide,  the
Companion and the Beloved.
O  friend,  Tell  me  of  God.  Where  is  He,  by  what  manner  do  I  find  Him,
Among what climes, in what abodes? Tell me, I am weary.    58
Read  the  Vedas,  Do  tapas,  meditate,  Perform  rites  and  ceremonies,
Practice  austerities  and  renounce,  Pray  at  His  temple,  among  flowers  and
incense, Bathe in the sacred rivers, Visit the holy places, Be a devotee and
pure of intelligence, In Kailas is His abode – – There you will find Him, cried
Obey the Law, Take refuge in the Order, Kill not, steal not and commit no
sin, Go to the shrine, Enter Nirvana – – There you will find Him, cried many.
Read the Holy Book, pray at His church – -there be many – – This church will
lead you to Him but beware of that.
Serve, sacrifice, Do not judge, be merciful,
In Heaven is His throne – – There you will find Him, cried many.
Read the only Book Of the only God, Visit His abode on earth, pray at the
mosque, At the setting of the sun worship Him, Bahisht is his abode – – There
you will find Him, cried many.
Work, work for humanity, Serve, serve your fellow-creatures, Follow this but
beware of that path, Do the will of God, Follow blindly for I hold the key to His
abode.  Grasp  this  opportunity  He  offers  you,  Sorrow  and  happiness  lead  to
Him, If you do this, your search will end – – Then you will find Him, shouted
I am weary, tired by the passage of time. Traveling on no path, I have come
to Thee, Thou hast revealed Thyself to me.
Oh! Thou art the round stone That grinds the rice in the peaceful village
Amidst songs and laughter. Thou art the graven image That men worship in
temples, With chants and solemn music. Thou art the dead leaf That lies torn
on  the  dusty  road  Trodden  by  the  weary  traveller.  Thou  art  the  solitary  pine
That stands majestic On the lonely hill.    59
Thou  art  the  lame  and  mangy  creature  That  comes  to  my  door  with  a
haunted look, hungry, That men abhor.
Thou art the mighty elephant That is gaily robed, Carrying the nobles of the
land. Thou art the naked beggar That wanders from house to house Wearily
crying for alms. Thou art the great of the land That are rich in possessions and
books, That are well-fed and satisfied. Thou art the priests of all temples That
are learned, proud and certain. Thou art the harlot, the sinner, the saint and
the heretic.
My search is at an end, In Thee I behold all things. I myself, am God.
Telling of beads – -they are but dead wood. Bathing in holy rivers – -they are
but waters. Worshipping at temples – -they are but the walls of naked stone.
Writing of books – -they are but flowers of words. Thinkest thou, O friend, to
juggle  with  Me?  As  the  lotus  abides  with  the  waters,  So  do  I  live  with  thee,
Adorn Me with thy jewels, Clothe Me with thy garments, Feed Me with thy
delicacies, Flatter Me with thy glories. Thinkest thou, O friend, to juggle with
Me? As the lotus abides with the waters, So do I live with thee, eternally.
Search  for  thy  happiness  in  passing  things,  Pursue  thy  passionate
trivialities, Drink deep for thy oblivion, Chase the butterfly from flower to flower.
Thinkest  thou,  O  friend,  to  juggle  with  Me?  As  the  lotus  abides  with  the
waters, So do I live with thee, eternally.
Rich is the shadow of a summer’s day.
Our journey ends, O friend, When thou and I meet, As the delicate spire
climbs eagerly into the blue skies, O my Beloved, so my heart soars into space
in search of Thee. As the butterfly tastes the hidden honey of the fast-fading   60
flower, O my Beloved, so have I played with Thee among the manifested – –
Changing, decaying.
By offerings, by alms and by the building of many a temple, Have I sought
to establish Thee. As the sparkling dewdrop that hangs on the tree-tops Above
the world, To fade in the morning sun, So have my great foundations in the
kingdoms of the manifest Been destroyed.
As the stars of a night About me are Thy creations. By yoga, by austerities,
Life after life, Have I chased Thee among the shadows of Thy manifestations.
Ever  eluding,  ever  enticing,  ever  disappointing,  Have  been  my  glimpses  of
But, my Beloved, my eternal love, O Thou, the desire of my heart, I have
found Thee, in the unmanifest, In the indestructible. As the rainbow vanishes
near the green earth, So has my search vanished among the flowers of Thy
In me Thou art established, Imperishable, ineffable, everlasting. O Beloved,
Thou art established in the temple of my heart.
I am the Beloved, the desire of all hearts, I am the playmate in the shadow
of creation. XI
In the quiet evening When the leaf is still, When the flower is weary of the
day And the bud is rejoicing for the morrow, When the shadows are long And
the smoke is mounting in a still column, When the world is breathless, Oh! with
the lark I climbed To the abode of my Beloved.
I  have  wandered  far  into  the  realms  of  the  unreal  In  search  of  the  real.
Many births and many deaths have been my lot. With the setting of a single
day  Have  I  known  many  joys,  many  sorrows,  But  Thou  hast  eluded  me,  O
Thou, the embodiment of Truth.    61
I have brought to Thee all my experience, All my woes and my joys. I have
worshipped  with  folded  hands  in  many  a  temple,  But  at  my  eager  approach
faded the image of truth.
I have loved and the glories of the earth have delighted me. I was full of
knowledge, enjoying the admiration of the world. I adorned myself with priestly
robes, But in silence the gods of my adoration looked down.
As the mountain is to the valley – -distant, forbidding – – So hast Thou been
to me. Thou hast ever remained with Thy face turned.
Thou hast been as a star – -far away, unreal. Thou wert ever the image, I
ever  the  worshipper.  Not  a  man  knew  of  Thine  abode;  Thou  wert  ever  far
away, fantastical, mysterious. Sometimes immense fear filled my heart, Often
great  hopes,  At  times  complete  indifference  and  weariness.  Without  Thee,  I
was as an empty shell.
As  the  potter’s  wheel,  I  went  round  and  round,  Consumed  by  continual
action. I brought to Thee the flower of my heart, The great delight of my mind,
But as the dead leaf in autumn, I was torn and trodden down.
As the tree on the mountain
Grows  in  solitude  and  strength,  Likewise,  life  after  life,  I  grew  in  solitude
and stature, I reached the mountain top.
Till in the long last, O Guru of Gurus, I tore the veil that separated Thee
from myself, That veil that set Thee apart.
Now,  my  Beloved,  Thou  and  I  are  one.  As  the  lotus  makes  the  waters
beautiful, So Thou and I complete the perfection of Life.
O Guru, Thy play is my play, Thy Love is my love. Thy smile has filled my
heart, My work is Thy creation. Thou hast bowed to me, O Love, As I have
bowed to Thee, Through countless ages.
The veil of separation is torn, O Beloved, Thou and I are One. XII    62
As the aspen leaf is aquiver With the breeze, So my heart dances with Thy
love. As two mountain streams meet With a roar, Joyous in their exultation, So
have I met Thee, O my Beloved.
As the mountain top is aglow At the going down of the sun, Giving to the
valley an immense desire, So hast Thou given glory to my being. As the valley
is still at eventide, So hast Thou calmed my soul.
My heart is filled With the love of a thousand years. Mine eyes Behold Thy
As the stars make the night beauteous, So hast Thou given beauty to my
soul. As serene as the graven image Have I become.
As the seed grows into a wondrous tree, The abode of many joyous birds,
Giving soft shadows To the weary traveller, So has my soul grown In search of
As a great river joins the sea, So to Thee have I come,
Rich from my long journey, Full with the experience of an age. O Beloved,
As  the  dewdrop  Mingles  with  the  honey  Of  the  flower,  So  Thou  and  I  have
become one. O my  Beloved,  Now  there  is  no  separation, No loneliness, No
sorrow, no struggle. Where’er I go I bring the glory of Thy presence. For, O
Beloved, Thou and I are one.
As  the  small  stream  Gathers  strength  on  its  long  journey,  Feeding  the
lonely  plains,  the  tall  drooping  trees,  Dancing  its  way  to  the  open  seas,
Attaining liberation – – So have I entered into Thee.
Long has been the journey On this trackless path of time, Where every little
snag  Gives  forth  music  and  the  sound  of  waters,  Where  every  little  pool
Reflects the glory of heavens, to stagnate, Where every little peaceful spot Is
burdened with the scent of decay.    63
Long did I struggle To swim in the strong current; Many a time, exhausted,
Have I been flung On the craggy banks of Time.
Weary of all experience, Gathering strength from that very weariness, Have
I run faster To where the open waters meet With a roar, The small mysterious
Liberated from Time, Without the limitation of Space, Have I become as the
dewdrop That creates the vast seas.
Oh! the lotus is unfolding its glory to the morning sun, I open my heart to
Thee, O my Beloved.
Since I have met with Thee, O my Beloved, Never have I known loneliness.
A  stranger  am  I  Amidst  all  peoples,  In  all  lands.  Amidst  the  multitude  of
strangers, Full am I As of the scent of jasmine. They surround me, But I know
no loneliness.
I weep for the strangers; How alone they are. Full of immense loneliness,
Fearful, They take to themselves people As lonely as themselves.
A  guest  am  I  In  this  world  of  transient  things,  Unfettered  by  the
entanglements thereof. I am of no country, No boundaries hold me.
O  friend,  I  weep  for  thee.  Thou  layest  thy  foundation,  But  thy  house
perisheth on the morrow.
O friend, Come with me, Abide in the house of my Beloved. Though thou
shalt wander the earth, possessing nothing, Thou shalt be as welcome As the
lovely spring,
For thou bringest with thee The Companion of all.
O friend, Live with me, My Beloved and I are one.    64
It has been given to me, O friend, To see the face of my Beloved.
His smile Has filled my heart. As the rivers of water Make constant music,
O friend, So my being rejoices In the splendor of His love.
As  one  beholds  the  mountain-top  At  the  setting  of  the  sun,  Radiant  and
serene Above the darkening world, O friend, So the vision of my Beloved Has
made me pure and at peace.
As at the lifting of the dark cloud From the happy face of the mountain, O
friend, So the shadow of life Has lifted At the approach of my well-Beloved.
As the mists of the morn Are consumed by the warm rays, O friend, So my
well-Beloved Has gathered me in, Dispelling the vision of emptiness.
As the deep valley lies In the shadow of a great mountain, O friend, So I lie
In the shadow of the hand Of my well-Beloved.
As the rose Amidst many thorns, O friend, so am I Amidst passing things.
As the day is made glorious By the darkness of the night, By the light of the
day, O friend,
So have I been made glorious.
As the rivers are full After the great rains, O friend, So has my well-Beloved
Burdened me with His love. The ages have awaited this hour. I have met with
my Beloved.
O  my  Beloved,  Thou  art  Liberation,  The  end  of  all  desire,  The
consummation of love.
O  my  Beloved,  Thou  art  the  unfading  beauty  of  Truth,  Thou  art  the
accomplishment of all thought, Thou art the flower of all devotion.    65
O my Beloved, O my Love, The sun is beyond the purple hills, And as a
single star I have risen In Thine adoration.
Thou and  I, We  have well  met. O my Beloved, Art Thou not myself? Art
Thou not the perfume of my heart?
I am Thy Beloved, My Beloved art Thou.
Thou  art  my  companion  of  ages.  I  am  Thy  shadow,  In  the  garden  of
eternity. XVII
As divinity lies hidden in a flower, So my Beloved dwells in me. As thunder
is among the mountains, So is my Beloved within my heart. As the cry of a bird
in a still forest, So has the voice of my Beloved filled me.
As fair as the morning, As serene as the moon,
As clear as the sun, Is my love for my Beloved.
As the sun goes down Beyond the purple hills, Amidst great clouds And the
whispering breeze among the trees, So has my Beloved descended into me,
To the rejoicing of my heart, To the glory of my mind.
As of a dark night Man guides himself By the distant stars, So my Beloved
guides me On the waters of life.
Yea, I have sought my Beloved, And discovered Him seated in my heart.
My Beloved beholds through mine eyes, For now my Beloved and I are one.
I laugh with Him, With Him I play.
This shadow is not of mine, It belongs to the heart of my Beloved, For now
my Beloved and I are One.    66
The Song Of Life
Make of thy desire the desire of the world, Of thy love the love of the world.
In thy thoughts take the world to thy mind, In thy doings let the world behold
thine eternity.
Thou mayest draw the many waters of a well, But thou canst not quench
the thirst of thy desires. Thy heart may hold the flower of its love, But with the
coming of death the flower fadeth. Thy thoughts may soar to lofty purpose, But
with anxious conflict they are caught in bondage.
As an arrow shot by a strong arm, So let thy purpose strike deep into the
everlasting. As the mountain stream, pure in its swiftness, So let thy mind race
eagerly towards freedom.
Awakened from the heart of love, My voice is the voice of understanding,
Born of infinite sorrow. Who can say if thy heart be clean?
Who can tell thee if thy mind be pure? Who can give thee the satisfaction of
thy  desire?  Who  can  heal  thee  of  the  burning  pain  of  satisfaction?  Shall
understanding  be  given  Or  the  way  of  love  be  shown  to  thee?  Shalt  thou
escape  that  fear  which  men  call  death?  Canst  thou  put  away  the  ache  of
loneliness Or run from the cry of anxiety? Canst thou hide thyself behind the
laughter of music? Or lose thyself in merry rejoicings?
Wisdom shall be born of understanding. She putteth forth her voice In the
wilderness of utter confusion.
A man saw the dancing shadows And went in search of the cause of so
much beauty.
Can Life die? Look into the eye of thy neighbour.
The valley lies hidden in the darkness of a cloud, But the mountain top is
serene In its gaze of the open sky.    67
On  the  banks  of  a  holy  river  A  pilgrim  repeats  a  ceaseless  chant,  And
cloistered in a cool temple A man kneels, lost in a devout whisper. But, behold,
under the heavy dust of summer Lies a green leaf.
Who shall call thee out of thy prison house? Or tear away the bondage from
thine eyes? A path mounts slowly up the mountain side, But who shall carry
thee  as  his  burden?  I  saw  a  lame  man  coming  towards  me,  I  shed  tears  of
aching memory.
In the far distance A lone star holds the sky.
The end is in the beginning of all things, Suppressed and hidden, Awaiting
to be released through the rhythm Of pain and pleasure.
Caught in the agony of Time, Maimed by the inward stress of growth, O
Beloved, The Self of which thou art the whole Is seeking the way of illumined
Fashioned in the poetry of balance, Gathering the riches of life’s pursuit, O
Beloved, The Self of which thou art the whole Is making its way to the heart of
all things.
In the secret sanctuary of desire, Through the recesses of enfolding love, O
Beloved, The Self of which thou art the whole Dances to the Song of Eternity.
By  the  visible  and  invisible  infinity,  In  the  round  of  birth  and  death,  O
Beloved,  The  Self  of  which  thou  art  the  whole  Is  bridging  the  space  of
Confused  in  fervent  worship,  Deluded  by  the  vain  pursuits  of  thought,  O
Beloved,  The  Self  of  which  thou  art  the  whole  Is  being  fused  into  the
As ever, O Beloved, The Self is still the whole.    68
Listen, O friend, I shall tell thee of the secret perfume of Life.
Life has no philosophy, No cunning systems of thought.
Life has no religion, No adoration in deep sanctuaries.
Life has no god, Nor the burden of fearsome mystery.
Life has no abode, Nor the aching sorrow of ultimate decay.
Life has no pleasure, no pain, Nor the corruption of pursuing love.
Life is neither good nor evil, Nor the dark punishment of careless sin.
Life gives no comfort, Nor does it rest in the shrine of oblivion.
Life is neither spirit nor matter, Nor is there the cruel division of action and
Life has no death, Nor has it the void of loneliness in the shadow of Time.
Free is the man who lives in the Eternal, For Life is. V
A thousand eyes with a thousand views, A thousand hearts with a thousand
loves, Am I.
As the sea that receiveth The clean and the impure rivers And heedeth not,
So am I.
Deep is the mountain lake, Clear are the waters of the spring, And my love
is the hidden source of things.
Ah, come hither and taste of my love; Then, as of a cool evening The lotus
is born, Shalt thou find thy heart’s own secret desire.
The scent of the jasmine fills the night air; Out of the deep forest Comes the
call of a passing day.    69
The Life of my love is unburdened; The attainment thereof is the freedom of
Love is its own divinity. If thou shalt follow it, putting aside the weary burden
Of a cunning mind, Thou shalt be free of the fear Of anxious love.
Love is not hedged about By space and time, By joyless things of the mind.
Such  love  delights  in  the  heart  Of  him  who  has  richly  wandered  In  the
confusion of love’s own pursuits.
The  Self,  the  Beloved,  The  hidden  loveliness  of  all  things,  Is  love’s
O,  why  needst  thou  seek  further,  Why  further,  friend?  In  the  dust  of
careless love Lies Life’s endless journey.
Love Life. Neither the beginning nor the end Knows whence it comes. For it
has no beginning and no end. Life is.
In the fulfilling of Life there is no death, Nor the ache of great loneliness.
The voice of melody, the voice of desolation, Laughter and the cry of sorrow,
Are but Life on its way to fulfillment.
Look into the eyes of thy neighbour And find thyself with Life; Therein is
immortality, Life eternal, never changing.
For him who is not in love with Life, There is the anxious burden of doubt
And the lone fear of solitude; For him there is but death.
Love  Life,  and  thy  love  shall  know  of  no  corruption.  Love  Life,  and  thy
judgment shall uphold thee. Love Life; thou shalt not wander away From the
path  of  understanding.  As  the  fields  of  the  earth  are  divided,  Man  makes  a
division of Life And thereby creates sorrow.    70
Worship not the ancient gods With incense and flowers, But Life with great
rejoicing; Shout in the ecstasy of joy There is no entanglement in the dance of
I am of that Life, immortal, free; The Eternal Source. Of that Life I sing.
Seek not the perfume of a single heart Nor dwell in its easeful comfort; For
therein abides
The fear of loneliness.
I wept, For I saw The loneliness of a single love.
In the dancing shadows Lay a withered flower.
The worship of many in the one Leads to sorrow. But the love of the one in
many Is everlasting bliss.
How easily The tranquil pool is disturbed By the passing winds. Nay, friend,
Seek not thy happiness In the fleeting.
There is but one way; That path lies in thyself, Through thine own heart.
A dream comes through a multitude of desires. When the mind is tranquil,
Undisturbed  by  thought,  When  the  heart  is  chaste  With  the  fullness  of  love
uncorrupted, Then shalt thou discover, O friend, A world beyond the illusion of
Therein is unity of all Life. Therein is the silent Source Which sustains the
dancing worlds.
In  that  world  there  is  neither  heaven  nor  hell,  Past,  present  nor  future;
Neither the deception of thought, Nor the soft whisperings of dying love.    71
O, seek that world Where death does not dance in its shadowless ecstasy,
Where  the  manifestations  of  Life  Are  as  the  shadows  that  the  smooth  lake
It lies about thee And without thee it exists not. XI
As out of the deep womb of a mountain Is born a swift-running stream; So
out of the aching depths of my heart Has come forth joyous love, The perfume
of the world.
Through the sunlit valleys rush the waters, Entering lake upon lake, Ever
wandering, never still; So is my love, Emptying itself from heart to heart.
As the waters move sadly Through the dark, cavernous valley; So has my
love become dull Through the shame of easy desire.
As  the  tall  trees  are  destroyed  By  the  strong  rush  of  waters  That  have
nourished  their  deep  roots,  So  has  my  love  torn  cruelly  The  heart  of  its
I have shattered the very rock on which I grew. And as a wide river Now
escapes to the dancing sea, whose waters know no bondage; So is my love in
the perfection of its freedom.
O, rejoice! There is thunder among the mountains, And long shadows lie
across the green face of the valley.
The rains Bring forth green shoots Out of the dead stumps of yesterday.
High among the rocks An eagle is building his nest.
All things are great with Life.
O friend, Life fills the world. Thou and I are in eternal union.    72
Life is as the waters That satisfy the thirst of kings and beggars alike: The
golden vessel for the king, For the beggar the potter’s vessel Which breaks to
pieces at the fountain. Each holds his vessel dear.
There is loneliness,
There is fear of solitude, The ache of a dying day, The sorrow of a passing
Life, destitute of love, Wanders from house to house, With none to declare
its loveliness.
Out  of  the  granite  rock  Is  fashioned  a  graven  image  Which  men  hold
sacred;  But  they  tread  carelessly  the  rock  On  the  way  That  leads  to  the
O friend, Life fills the world. Thou and I are in eternal union.
Search  out  the  secret  pursuit  of  thy  desire;  Then  thou  shalt  not  live  in
What canst thou know of happiness, If in the vale of misery thou hast not
walked? What canst thou know of freedom, If against thy bondage thou hast
not  cried  aloud?  What  canst  thou  know  of  love,  If  from  the  entanglement  of
love Thou hast not sought deliverance?
I saw the flowers blossom In the dark hours of a still night.
Does the raindrop hold in its fullness The raging stream? Does the raindrop
in its loneliness Feed the solitary tree on the hill? Does the raindrop in its great
descent  Create  the  sweet  sound  of  many  waters?  Does  the  raindrop  in  its
pureness Quench the aching thirst?    73
It  is  the  unwise  who  chase  The  shadow  of  self  in  Life.  And  Life  eludes
them, For they wander in the ways of bondage.
Wherefore the struggle in loneliness of division? In Life there is neither you
nor I.
I  have  no  name;  I  am  as  the  fresh  breeze  of  the  mountains.  I  have  no
shelter; I am as the wandering waters. I have no sanctuary, like the dark gods;
Nor am I in the shadow of deep temples. I have no sacred books, Nor am I
well-seasoned in tradition. I am not in the incense Mounting on high altars, Nor
in the pomp of ceremonies. I am neither in the graven image Nor in the rich
chant of a melodious voice.
I am not bound by theories, Nor corrupted by beliefs. I am not held in the
bondage  of  religions,  Nor  in  the  pious  agony  of  their  priests.  I  am  not
entrapped by philosophies, Nor held in the power of their sects.
I am neither low nor high, I am the worshipper and the worshipped. I am
My  song  is  the  song  of  the  river  Calling  for  the  open  seas,  Wandering,
I am Life.
Love not the shapely branch, Nor place its image alone in thy heart. It dieth
Love the whole tree. Then thou shalt love the shapely branch, The tender
and the withered leaf, The shy bud and the full-blown flower, The falling petal
and the dancing height, The splendid shadow of full love.
Ah, love Life in its fullness. It knoweth no decay. XVII    74
Sorrow  is  soon  forgotten  And  pleasure  is  bound  by  tears.  None  but  the
clear-eyed shall remember The deep wounds of their passing sighs.
Sorrow  is  the  shadow  In  the  wake  of  pleasure.  Desire  is  young  in  its
anxious flight; The swiftness of its deeds Shall uncover the source of joy.
The conflict of discontent is suffering; The inviting of sorrow Is the way to
Life’s dwelling place Is in the heart of man.
Ah, the symphony of that song! The innermost shrine Is breathless with the
love of many. The flame dances with the thoughts of many.
The scent of burnt camphor fills the air; The careless priest drones a chant;
The idol sparkles, seeming to move, Weary of such boundless adoration.
A still silence holds the air. And on the instant A melodious song of infinite
heart Brings untold tears to my eyes.
In a white robe A woman sings to the heart of her love Of the travail she
knew not, Of the laughter of children around her breast, Of the love that died
young, Of the sorrow in a barren home, Of the solitude in a still night, Of life
fruitless amidst the flowering earth.
I cry with her. Her heart became mine.
She  leaves  that  abode  of  sanctity,  Eager  with  the  joy  of  worship  on  the
I follow her through the eternity of time.
O love, Thou and I shall wander On the open road of true love. Thou and I
shall never part.
XIX    75
I have lived the good and evil of men, And dark became the horizon of my
I  have  known  the  morality  and  immorality of men, And cruel became my
anxious thought.
I  have  shared  in  the  piety  and  impiety  of  men,  And  heavy  became  the
burden of life.
I have pursued the race of the ambitious, And vain became the glory of life.
And now I have fathomed the secret purpose of desire.
Out of the fullness of thy heart Invite sorrow, And the joy thereof shall be in
abundance. As the streams swell After the great rains, And the pebbles rejoice
once again In the murmur of running waters, So shall thy wanderings by the
wayside Fill the emptiness that createth fear. Sorrow shall unfold the weaving
of  life;  Sorrow  shall  give  the  strength  of  loneliness;  Sorrow  shall  open  unto
thee The closed doors of thy heart.
The cry of sorrow is the voice of fulfillment, And the rejoicing therein Is the
fullness of Life.
I look to none beside Thee, O my Beloved. Thou art born in me, And lo,
there I take my refuge.
I have read of Thee in many books. They tell me That there are many like
unto Thee, That many temples are built for Thee, That there are many rites To
invoke Thee. But I have no communion with them, For all these are but the
shells Of man’s thoughts.    76
O  friend,  Seek  for  the  Well-beloved  In  the  secret  recesses  of  thy  heart.
Dead is the tabernacle When the heart ceases to dance. I look to none beside
Thee, O my Beloved. Thou art born in me, And lo, there I take my refuge.
My brother died; We were as two stars in a naked sky.
He was like me, Burnt by the warm sun In the land where are soft breezes,
Swaying palms, And cool rivers, Where there are shadows numberless, Bright-
coloured parrots and chattering birds.
Where green tree-tops Dance in the brilliant sun; Where there are golden
sands And blue-green seas:
Where the world lives in the burden of the sun, And the earth is baked dull
brown; Where the green-sparkling rice fields Are luscious in slimy waters, And
shining, brown, naked bodies Are free in the dazzling light:
The land Of the mother suckling her babe by the roadside; Of the devout
lover  Offering  gay  flowers;  Of  the  wayside  shrine;  Of  intense  silence;  Of
immense  peace.  He  died;  I  wept  in  loneliness.  Where’er  I  went,  I  heard  his
voice  And  his  happy  laughter.  I  looked  for  his  face  In  every  passer-by  And
asked each if he had met with my brother; But none could give me comfort.
I worshipped, I prayed, But the gods were silent. I could weep no more; I
could dream no more. I sought him in all things, In every clime.
I heard the whispering of many trees Calling me to his abode.
And then, In my search, I beheld Thee, O Lord of my heart; In Thee alone I
saw the face of my brother.
In Thee alone, O my eternal Love, Do I behold the faces Of all the living
and all the dead.
XXIII    77
I tell thee, Orthodoxy is set up When the mind and heart are in decay.
As the quiet pool of the woods Lies hidden under a green mantle, So is Life
covered by the accumulation Of autumnal thought.
As the soft leaf is heavy with the dust Of last summer, So is Life weary With
a dying love.
When  thought  and  feeling  are  hedged  about  By  the  fear  of  corruption,
Then, O friend, Thou art caught in the darkness Of a fading day.
A tender leaf lies withering In the shadow of a great valley.
As a flower holds the scent, So do I contain thee, O World, In my heart.
Keep me within thy heart, For I am Liberation, The unending happiness of
As a precious stone Lies deep in the earth, So am I hidden Deep in thy
Though thou dost not know me, I know thee full well. Though thou dost not
think of me, My world is filled with thee. Though thou dost not love me, Thou
art  my  unchanging  love.  Though  thou  worshippest  me  In  temples,  churches
and mosques, I am a stranger to thee; But thou art my eternal companion. As
the mountains protect The peaceful valley, So do I cover thee, O World, With
the shadow of my hand.
As the rains come To a parched land, So, O World, Do I come With the
scent of my love.
Keep thy heart pure and simple, O world, For then thou shalt welcome me.
I am thy love, The desire of thy heart.    78
Keep  thy  mind  Tranquil  and  clear,  O  World,  For  therein  is  thine  own
I am thine understanding, The fullness Of thine own experience.
I sit in the temple, I sit by the wayside, Watching the shadows move From
place to place.
Reason is the treasure of the mind, Love is the perfume of the heart; Yet
both are of one substance, Though cast in different moulds.
As  a  golden  coin  Bears  two  images  parted  by  a  thin  wall  of  metal,  So
between  love  and  reason  Is  the  poise of understanding, That understanding
Which is of both mind and heart.
O life, O Beloved, In Thee alone is eternal love, In Thee alone is everlasting
As the spark That shall give warmth Is hid among the grey ashes, So, O
friend, The light Which shall guide thee Under the dust Of thine experience.
O friend, Thou canst not bind Truth.
It is as the air, Free, limitless, Indestructible, Immeasurable.
It  hath  no  dwelling  place,  Neither  temple  nor  altar.  It  is  of  no  one  God,
However zealous be His worshippers.
Canst  thou  tell  From  what  single  flower  The  bee  gathereth  the  sweet
O friend, Leave heresy to the heretic, Religion to the orthodox; But gather
Truth From the dust of thine experience.    79
As the potter To the joy of his heart Moulds the clay,; So canst thou create
To the glory of thy being Thy future.
As the man of the forest Cuts a path Through the thick jungle; So canst
thou make, Through this turmoil of affliction, A clear path To thy freedom from
sorrows, To thy lasting happiness.
O friend, As for a moment The mysterious mountains Are concealed by the
passing mists; So art thou hid In the darkness Of thy creation. The fruit of the
seed thou sowest Shall burden thee. O friend, Heaven and hell Are words To
frighten thee to right action; But heaven and hell exist not. Only the seeds of
thine own actions Shall bring into being The flower of thy longing.
As the maker of images Carves the human shape Out of granite, So, out of
the rock Of thine experience, Hew thine eternal happiness.
Thy life is a death; Death is a rebirth. Happy is the man Who is beyond the
clutches Of their limitations.
The mountain comes down to the dancing waters, But its head is hidden in
a dark cloud.
On the stump of a dead pine There grew a delicate flower.
The substance of my love is Life And in its pathway there is no death.
Doubt is as a precious ointment; Though it burns, it shall heal greatly.
I tell thee, invite doubt When in the fullness of thy desire. Call to doubt At
the time when thine ambition Is outrunning others in thought. Awaken doubt
When thy heart is rejoicing in great love.    80
I tell thee, Doubt brings forth eternal love; Doubt cleanses the mind of its
corruption. So the strength of thy days Shall be established in understanding.
For the fullness of thy heart, And for the flight of thy mind, Let doubt tear
away thine entanglements.
As  the  fresh  winds  from  the  mountains  That  awaken  the  shadows  in  the
valley, So let doubt call to dance The decaying love of a contented mind.
Let not doubt enter darkly thy heart.
I tell thee, Doubt is as a precious ointment; Though it burns, it shall heal
Listen to me, O friend.
Be thou a yogi, a monk, a priest, A devout lover of God, A pilgrim searching
for happiness, Bathing in holy rivers, Visiting sacred shrines, The occasional
worshipper of a day, A reader of many books, Or a builder of temples, My love
aches for thee. I know the way to the heart of the Beloved.
This  vain  struggle,  This  long  toil,  This  ceaseless  sorrow,  This  changing
pleasure, This burning doubt, This burden of life: All these will cease, O friend.
My love aches for thee. I know the way to the heart of the Beloved.
Have  I  wandered  over  the  earth,  Have  I  loved  the  reflections,  Have  I
chanted, rapt in ecstasy, Have I donned the robe, Have I listened to the temple
bells, Have I grown heavy with study, Have I searched, Have I been lost? Yea,
much have I known. My love aches for thee. I know the way to the heart of the
O friend, Wouldst thou love the many reflections, If thou canst have reality?
Throw  away  thy  bells,  thine  incense,  Thy  fears  and  thy  gods;  Set  aside  thy
creeds, thy philosophies;    81
Come, Put aside all these: I know the way to the heart of the Beloved.
O friend, The simple union is the best. That is the way to the heart of the
Beloved. XXXII
Through the veil of Form, O Beloved, I see Thee, myself in manifestation.
How unattainable are the mountains to the valley, Though the mountains
hold the valley! How mysterious is the darkness That brings forth the watching
stars, And yet the night is born of day!
I am in love with Life. As the mountain lake
Which receives many streams And sends forth great rivers, But holds its
unknown depths, So is my love.
Calm and clear, as the mountains in the morning Is my thought, Born of
Happy is the man who has found the harmony of Life, For then he creates
in the light of eternity.    82
TOYS. A child Had arranged on the polished floor Its toys, neatly and with
care. The drum, The bugles, The cannons, The soldiers, And an officer with
much gold – – Undoubtedly a field-marshal – – The long train With its polished
engine, A tiny airplane, A big automobile, These were on one side.
On the other, A doll with curly hair, Dressed in the latest fashion, Its bare
knees showing, Black polished shoes With silk stockings. A little further away,
Men in long coats and top hats. A bag With a string To bind them all.
The child had gone.
Then up sprang a man In long coat, with his hat in hand: «I represent God,
And all of you listen. I have discovered Heaven and Hell. All who obey Go to
Heaven and to the paradise of Gods, But those who disobey To Hell and to
great sorrows.
I  know  who  is  fit  and  worthy  of  Heaven,  I  alone  can  give  spiritual
distinctions and spiritual titles, I alone can make a man happy or unhappy, I
alone can introduce God to you, I alone know the path to Him, I am the priest
of God.»
«I am the protector, the ruler And the dispenser of life, I, with my friends the
merchants, Decide to wage wars, to kill and to slaughter, To protect you, my
friends, from your enemies. Our country is above all. Woe to all who do not kill,
Who do not wear uniform, Who are unpatriotic – -which I decide. God is on our
side, He waves the only flag – -our flag – -» Roared the man with the sword and
many ribbons.
Then a large fat man spoke quietly: «You two may say what you please, I
hold the monies. I am the dispenser of all things, Of temporal power, Of cruelty
and kindness, Of progress and evolution, Without me nothing shall be decided.
I am a man of great wealth, Thy wealth shalt be the only God, I have finished.»    83
Then the man whom nobody noticed, Spoke: «I can destroy all your Gods,
Your theories and your wealth, Without me you can do nothing. You cannot
talk to me of God When I am hungry,
Feed me and I will listen to your Gods. You cannot make me Into cannon
fodder. pay me and excite me And I shall fight. You are rich because of me, I
toil for you, suffer for you, Go hungry for you and die for you, I am your food
and your comfort, Your love and your destroyer, I am going to strip you of all
these, Now I strike.»
Then  the  lady  with  bare  knees  –  –  «I  am  laughing  Because  each  of  you
thinks  You  are  the  most  important.  Glorying  in  your  own  importance  Where
would you all be without me? Still in that Heaven or Hell Of which you spoke,
O friend with the long coat. I am your sister, your mother, Your wife and your
love. I am on the stage of your bestial amusement, I bear children – -the agony
of it – -for your pleasure, I dress showing just enough For your pleasure, I paint
and make a fool of myself For your pleasure, I covet your glances and long for
your  love,  I  desire  children  without  you,  I  seek  freedom  in  spite  of  you,  I
struggle  to  be  free  of  your  desires,  To  show  my  equality,  I  do  things  that
astonish  you,  I  shall  usurp  all  your  places,  Your  honors,  your  glories.  You
worship me, You desecrate me. I am a woman But your master.»
Then  all  began  to  talk,  Advancing  this  complicated  theory  and  that
complicated  theory,  This  solution  and  that  solution,  Class  against  class,
Wealth against poverty, Hungry against the well-fed.
A  roar  and  utter  chaos.  The  child  came  back,  Gathered  up  its  toys,
Knocking down one or two In its hurry. Then it went out, Laughing. II
There is a mountain, far beyond the plains and hills, whose great summit
overlooks  the  dark  valley  and  the  open  seas.  Neither  cloud  nor  deep  mists
ever hide its calm face. It is above the shadows of day and night. From the
vast plain, no man can behold it. Some have seen it but there be few that have
reached its feet. One in many thousand years gathers his strength and gains   84
that  abode  of  eternity.  I  speak  of  that mountain top, serene,  infinite,  beyond
thought. I shout for joy!
One day, a man beheld through the opening of a cloud, the calm face of the
mountain. He stopped every passer-by, that would stay to give an answer, and
inquired of the way that would lead him beyond the mists. Some said take this
path, and others said take that path. After many days of confusion and toil, he
arrived  among  the  hills.  A  man,  full  in  years,  wise  in  the  ways  of  the  hills,
said,»I know the way. You cannot reach the mountain, O friend, unless you are
strengthened  by  the  power  that  comes  from  the  adoration  of  the  image  in
yonder shrine.» Many days passed in peaceful worship. Tired of worship, he
asked of men that seemed great with under- standing.
«Yea,» said one,»I know the way. But if you would gain the fulfillment of your
desire, carry this on you. It will uphold you in your weariness.» He gave him the
symbol of his struggle. Another cried,»Yea, I know the way. But many days of
contempla-  tion  must  be  passed  in  the  seclusion  of  a  sanctuary,  with  my
picture of eternity.» «I know the way,» said another,»But you must perform these
rites,  understand  these  hidden  laws,  you  must  enter  the  association  of  the
elect and hold fast to the knowledge that we shall give you.» «Be loud in the
song of praise of the reflection that you seek,» said another. «Come, follow me,
obeying all things I say. I know the way,» cried another. In the long last, the
calm face of the mountain was utterly forgotten. Now he wanders from hill to
hill, crying aloud,»Yes, I know the way, but….»
There  is  a  mountain  far  beyond  the  plains  and  hills  whose  summit
overlooks  the  dark  valley  and  the  open  seas.  Neither  cloud  nor  deep  mists
ever hide its calm face. It is above the shadows of day and night. One in many
thousand years gathers his strength and gains that abode of eternity. I speak
of that mountain top, serene, infinite, beyond thought. I shout for joy!
III    85
In my garden there is life and death, the laughter of many flowers and the
cry of falling petals. A dead tree and a green tree look on each other. It is mid-
summer and the shadows are dancing save about the dead tree. The song of
waters shall not set it a-dancing, nor the rain bring forth the hidden leaves. Ah,
it is so bare, so empty! Who shall nourish it, who shall caress it with life? The
far  skies  look  down  on  the  dead  and  the  living.  Through  the  long  suffering
winter,  lies  concealed  a  seed  of  lovely  promise.  Cold  winds,  tearing  gales,
noisy  storms,  hold  back  the  loveliness  of  the  seed.  Dark  days  and  sunless
hours deny the glory of the seed. With the soft breeze from the warm south the
hidden seed awakens to life. The song of the birds over the blue skies calls the
still seed to life. The scent of warm rain awakens deep memories of the seed
to  life.  Through  the  burden  of  heavy  earth,  life  breaks  forth  and  rejoices.  It
grew by the dusty road-side among the lazy stones. With its single flower, it
danced the day long. A boy, on his homeward way, uproots it and throws it
away. Creation lies in the path of careless love. IV
I would like to tell a story. Once upon a time there was a man who desired
to  understand  the  beauty  of  the  moon  and  the  softness  of  its  rays  and  the
causes of these things. So he went forth and gazed into the skies. Between
him and the moon there was a lovely tree with a delicate branch and tender
leaves. Forgetting the moon, he began to examine the delicate branch and the
tender  leaves  and  was  lost  in  the  thought  of  such  delicacy,  and  when  he
looked up again, the moon had set. The understanding of life is more essential
than the mere superficial knowledge of the machinery of life, though one must
be acquainted with this also.
Once upon a time, when there was great understanding and in the world
full  rejoicing,  there  lived  a  gentle  woman,  full  of  years.  One  day,  she  found
herself in a temple, before the altar made by the human hand. She was crying
bitterly to heaven and none was there to comfort her. Till in the long last, a   86
friend of God took notice of her and asked the reason for her tears. «God must
have forgotten me. My husband is gracious and well. My children are full and
strong. Many servants are there to care for us. All things are well with me and
mine  own.  God  has  forgotten  us.»  The  friend  of  God  replied,  «God  never
forgets  His  children.»  When  she  came  home,  she  found  her  son  dead.  She
never cried. «God remembers me and mine own.»
The mountains look on the town and the town looks upon the sea. It was
the time of many flowers and calm blue skies. In a big house, where the trees
gathered around there lived a man, rich in the possession of things. He had
visited the capitals of many lands in search of a cure. He was lame, scarcely
able to walk. A stranger from the distant and sunny lands, came by chance to
the  town  that  looks  upon  the  sea.  The  lame  man  and  the  distant  stranger
passed by, touching each other in a narrow lane. The lame man was healed,
and the town whispered in amazement. On the next day, the man made whole
was taken to prison for some immorality.
There is a little town, sheltered in the shadow of a great mountain. There
are many people in that town and only one street with numer- ous shops. The
shop of gay and bright coloured flowers, to which people came with laughter in
their hearts – The shop where they sell clothes, a delight to the vanity of the
people who come out of it – The shop where they sell toys; grave men and little
children enter in. Outside the large shop where food is sold, a beggar waits.
There is a gloomy house which undertakes to rid the people of their dead. How
prosperous are they that live within! – A house where they sell God; where they
teach the people fear, and then the way to overcome their fear. In that house
there are many dark corridors in which worshippers lose themselves. A man,
in gorgeous robes, tells of the beauty of an unknown Deity. There is a well-
built house where they keep in perfect order the dead creations of the past.   87
One  day  when  there  many  joyous  shadows,  and  the  people  were  delighted
with his visit, for there came few strangers to that town.
They feasted him in honour and the town rejoiced. They showed him their
shops, their house of gloom and the gilded building where God was kept for
sale. In the street there is a procession of mourners for the dead. The people
looked to the stranger for a passing word of comfort, but behold, he laughs.
For he is in love with Life and death passes him by. They understood him not
but  hurried  him  out  of  their  gates.  The  stranger  climbs  to  the  mountain  top,
which overlooks that crowded town.
There was, once on a time, a man whose heart rejoiced in Life. He loved
Life and therefore he loved all things. He was a friend to the meanest and to
the greatest. For is not Life as the waters which satisfy the thirst of the wise
and the foolish? Now this man was greatly sought after for his understanding
in  wisdom.  One  day,  when  the  skies  were  blue  and  the  sun  was  warm,  the
ants came out of their deep nests and wandered on the face of the land, so
that the pathway was moving with them. In his far-seeing wisdom the lover of
Life  saw  a  man  drowning  in  the  smiling,  blue  lake.  He  hastened  on  the
pathway, to save him from the dancing waters, thereby crushing many ants.
The people were troubled, for said they, «How can this man be a true lover of
Life  when  he  destroys?  How  foolish  we  are  to  look  to  him  for  love.»  He
wanders lonely among the mountains. Ah, how little they love!
On the banks of a soft running river There was a village full of people but
empty of life. Oh, the sorrow of it!
Many  were  the  tall  temples  with graven images, Gods moulded after the
thought of man, Proud priests, soft of voice, loud in chants, Grave talkers of   88
philosophy,  under  the  cool  trees;  The  cry  of  burden,  the  fear  of  sorrow,
Complicated laws of religion, Morality made for others, The strong maintained
by the weak. The naked and the clothed walked on the same narrow street, All
in strife one against another, Their Gods, their laws and their love.
They called the village the world.
On a fair day, at the meeting of four roads, A man cried, «Listen, O people,
There is a corruption, and a strife; The song of your life is impure. The Master
Singer  of  Life  Comes  to  this  ancient  village;  Harken  to  the  harmony  of  his
The jasmine opens its heart to the dark night.
«I am the Master Singer of Life, I have suffered long, I know. Keep pure the
song  in  thy  heart,  Simple  is  the  way.  Be  rid  of  the  complexities  of  Gods,  of
religions and of beliefs therein. Bind not thy life with rites, with the desire after
comfort. Be a lamp unto thyself. Thou shalt not then cast a shadow across the
face of another. Life cannot be held in the bondage of fear. Be free, then there
shall be the miracle of order. Love life, then there shall be no loneliness. Ah,
listen to the voice of my love; I have suffered long, I know. I am free, eternally
happy,; I am the Master Singer of Life.»
Softly falls the rain on the burning land. A few listened and greatly rejoiced.
putting aside all things They freed life of all bondage.
«Yea,» cried the people, «But how shall we reconcile the beauty of our Gods
with thy song? In what manner shall we fit thy sayings into the temples of our
creation? Thou art the bringer of confusion. We shall have none of thee, Thou
sayest things that we know not, What thou sayest is of the Devil, Away, away.»
The Master Singer of Life went on his way, And the people struggled with
the problem of reconcilliation.
X    89
Once upon a time – which is the way in which all true stories begin – there
was a world in which all the people were sick and sad, and yet all of them were
seeking to be released from their suffering and to find happiness. In search of
this happiness they prayed, they worshipped, they loved and they hated, they
married and made wars. They begot children as miserable as themselves and
yet they taught those children that happiness was their right and their eventual
Then  one  day  in  the  midst  of  this  suffering  world  there  rose  a  whisper,
which grew into a shout, that a Great Teacher was coming who, because of
his love for the world and because of his wisdom, would bring to those who
were suffering, comfort in their sorrow, and would show all the people in the
world how they might find the lasting happiness which all were seeking.
And in order to spread widely the glad news of the coming of the Teacher,
organizations  and  societies  were  formed,  and  men  and  women  went
throughout the world telling of the Teacher who would come. Some prayed to
him that he would come more quickly. Some performed ceremonies in order to
prepare  the  world  to  receive  him.  Some  made  profound  studies  of  forgotten
times, when other great Teachers had come and taught, so that by this study
they might better understand him. Some proclaimed themselves his disciples
in  advance,  so  that  when  he  came  there  might  be  some  at  least  to  stand
around him and to understand him.
Then one day he came. And he told the people of the world that he had
come to bring them happiness, to heal their pain and to soothe their sorrows.
He said that he himself, through much suffering and pain, had found his way to
an  abode  of  peace,  to  a  Kingdom  of  eternal  Joy.  He  told  them  that  he  had
come to lead them and to guide them to that abode. But, he said, because the
path leading to that Kingdom was steep and narrow, only those could follow
him who were willing to set aside everything that they had accumulated in the
past.  He  asked  them  to  set  aside  their  Gods,  their  religions,  their  rites  and   90
ceremonies, their books and their knowledge, their families and friends. And if
they would do that, he said, he would provide them with food for the journey,
he  would  satisfy  their  burning  thirst  with  the  living  water  he  possessed,  and
would  bring  them  into  the  Kingdom  of  Happiness  where  he  himself  dwelt
Then  those  people,  who  for  so  many  years  had  been  preparing  for  the
Teacher, began to feel uncomfortable and troubled. For they said: «This is not
the teaching we expected and for which we have been preparing. How can we
renounce all this knowledge which we have so painfully acquired? Without it
the  world  would  never  understand  the  Teacher.  How  can  we  renounce  all
these  splendid  rites  and  ceremonies  in  the  performing  of  which  we  find  so
much happiness and power? How can we renounce our families and friends
when we need them so much? What teaching is this?»
And  they  began  to  question  among  themselves:  «Can  this  indeed  be  the
Teacher whom we have been expecting? We never thought he would speak in
this  way  and  ask  of  us  such  renunciations.»  And  those  especially  who  had
proclaimed  themselves  his  disciples,  because  of  their  more  intimate
knowledge of his will, felt uncomfortable and troubled.
Then after much thought and meditation light came to them and a solution
of their difficulties. And they said: «lt is true that the Teacher comes to help the
world, but we know the world better than he does and so we will act as his
interpreters to the world.»
And so those who had knowledge said: «His call for renunciation does not
apply to us because the world needs our knowledge and could not do without
it, so for the sake of the world we shall go on seeking knowledge.»
And those who performed rites and ceremonies said: «We have of course
renounced  all  rites  and  ceremonies  for  our  own  benefit,  we  have  passed
beyond any need of them, but for the sake of the world we shall continue to
perform  them,  otherwise  the  world  would  suffer.»  So  they  continued  to  build   91
Churches  and  Temples  and  to  perform  rites,  all  to  help  the  world,  and  they
were too busy to listen to the Teacher.
And the only people who willingly renounced were those who gave up their
homes  and  their  families  because  they  wanted  freedom  from  duty  and
obligation. And they came to the Teacher and said: «We have left all to follow
you,  now  find  us  an  easy  job  where  we  can  work  for  you  and  also  earn  a
Some there were, a few, who set aside all things, and sat at the feet of the
Teacher,  and  tried  to  learn  from  him  how  they  might  feed  the  hungry  and
satisfy the thirsty. These people thought that his wisdom was likely to prove
more  helpful  to  the  world  than  their  knowledge;  that  his  simplicity  might  be
more easily understood than their complications; that the Teacher might know
best when he said that rites and ceremonies were not necessary for the finding
of  the  happiness  he  came  to  give;  that  you  could  renounce  your  family  and
friends in your heart while not deserting them in the flesh.
But  the  others  reproached  them  for  their  selfishness  and  idleness.  They
said: «The world does not need the bread of the Teacher, but a particular kind
of pastry for which we hold the recipe. It does not need water to quench its
thirst, but the wine contained in our chalices. The words of your Teacher will
not  help  the  world,  because  they  are  too  simple  and  the  world  cannot
understand  what  they  mean.  We  have  complicated  theories  to  solve  the
complicated problems of the world and the world can understand them.»
So there were few of those who had most eagerly announced the coming of
the Teacher who listened to the teaching he gave. There were some who said:
«This  is  not  the  Teacher  we  expected,  so  we  will  go  on  preparing  for  the
coming of the real Teacher.» And the others built up walls and barriers round
him so that none could get to him unless they opened the gates.
So in a few years he went away and then the same people hailed him as
divinely inspired, and they built new Churches in his name and invented new   92
and elaborate rites and ceremonies for his glory, and built a new religion upon
the teaching he had not given. And the world continued to suffer and cry for
help.    93
Prose Poems
A HYMN. I have stood in Thy holy presence, I have seen the splendor of
Thy face, I prostrate at Thy sacred feet, I kiss the hem of Thy garment, I have
felt the glory of Thy beauty, I have seen Thy serene look.
Thy  wisdom  has  opened  my  closed  eyes,  Thine  eternal  peace  has
transfigured me. Thy tenderness, the tenderness of a mother to her child, the
teacher to his pupil, I have felt.
Thy  compassion  for  all  things,  living  and  non-living,  the  animate  and
inanimate, I have felt.
Thy joy, indescribable, has thrilled me, Thy voice has opened in me many
voices.  Thy  touch  has  awakened  my  heart.  Thine  eyes  have  opened  mine
eyes.  Thy  glory  has  kindled  the  glory  in  me.  O  Master  of  Masters,  I  have
yearned for this happy hour when I should stand in Thy holy presence, At last
it  has  been  granted  unto  me.  I  am  happy,  I  am  peaceful,  peaceful  as  the
bottom  of  a  deep  blue  lake.  I  am  calm,  calm  as  the  snow-clad  mountaintop
above the storm clouds. I have longed for this hour, it has come. I shall follow
humbly in Thy footsteps along that path which Thy holy feet have trodden. I
shall humbly serve the world, the world for which thou hast suffered, sacrificed
and toiled. I shall bring that peace into the world. I have longed for this happy
hour, it has come.
Thine  image  is  in  mine  heart,  Thy  compassion  is  burning  in  me,  Thy
wisdom guides me, Thy peace enlightens me, Thy tenderness has given me
the power to sacrifice. Thy love has given me energy. Thy glory pervades my
entire being.
I have yearned for this hour, it has come, in all the splendor of a glorious
spring. I am young as the youngest. I am old as the oldest. I am happy as a
blind lover, for I have found my love. I have seen. I can never be blind, though
a thousand years pass. I have seen Thy divine face everywhere, in the stone,
in the blade of grass, in the giant pines of the forest, in the reptile, in the lion, in   94
the criminal, in the saint. I have longed for this magnificent moment, it came
and I have grasped it.
I  have  stood  in  Thy  presence.  I  have  seen  the  splendor  of  Thy  face.  I
prostrate at Thy sacred feet. I kiss the hem of Thy garment. II
The mind well poised, Calm, serene, Free from the limitations of prejudice,
My heart dances with Thy love, O Beloved.
How can I forget Thy love? As well ask the rose To delight in summer’s day
Without its tender petals.
How  can  I  be  separated  from  Thee,  O  Guru  of  Gurus?  As  well  ask  the
waters of the sea To separate from its joyous waves.
If in this world there is loneliness, Then, where art Thou, O my Love?
As the sun fills the earth With dancing shadows and great open spots of
light, So hast Thou filled my heart In great abundance.
Nay,  canst  thou  tell  me,  O  friend,  Whence  comes  this  mighty  assurance
And  the  purpose  thereof?  The  cause  of  this  ceaseless  strife,  This  violent
desire for many possessions, This immense longing for life, This never-ending
struggle after the passing happiness? How quickly Fades the lovely rose. How
easily O friend, Sorrow is begotten.
O friend, Thou wilt find thy lasting happiness In no temple, In no book, Not
in the intellect of man, Nor in the Gods of thy creation. Go not to holy places,
Worship not in wayside shrines.
How easily The tranquil pool is disturbed, And the reflection thereof.    95
Nay,  friend,  Seek  not  thy  happiness  In  passing  things.  Find  thy  soul,  O
friend, For there alone Abideth thy Beloved.
How suddenly The still pool is  disturbed! The passing wind Delights with
the restless waters, The Insect Makes patterns, Annoying the tranquil waters.
The  reflections  pass  away,  to  be  re-established again, The stately tree, The
blue  heavens,  The  swift  bird,  The  heavy  cloud,  The  tall  house  with  many
windows, Are there in the quiet pool.
The  sun  through  the  green  leaves,  The  distant  stars,  through  immense
space, My own face, so close, Are there established. O pool, My tears disturb
thy waters. Tell me, Which is the real?
As the beggar, Lean and hungry, Sits on the steps of the temple Shaking
his empty bowl, So have I sat Crying for my empty heart To be filled.
The worshippers On their way to the Shrine, With the habit of offering, With
a smile, They gave me of their gifts.
But on the morrow, With the beggers I took my place Once again, Sad and
As many scores of rivers Enter into the sea, So the understanding of the
world Has come unto me. Immense longing Is born unto me, An aching love Is
burning my heart, A passionate desire Is consuming my being.    96
Come away, Come away, O world, From thy changing sorrows, From thy
dying love. I have found the way.
Come  away,  Come  away,  O  world,  From  thy  little  Gods,  From  thy
interpreters thereof. I have found the way.
Come away, Come away, O world, From thy fleeting passions, From thy
decaying  achievements.  I  have  found  the  way.  Come  away,  Come  away,  O
world,  From  thy  prison  of  pain,  From  thy  keepers  thereof.  I  have  found  the
Come  away,  Come  away,  O  world,  From  thy  burning  desires,  From  thy
agonies therein. I have found the way.
Come  away,  Come  away,  O  world,  From  the  false,  From  the  burdens
thereof. I have found the way.
Come away, Come away, O world, From thy kneeling, From the holding up
of thy sad hands, The temple walls are falling. I have found the way.
Come away, Come away, O world, For all things perish, Though thy soft
tears Wash away thy memories. I have found the way.
Seized am I With a burning passion To free thee From thy cage, For I have
found the way.
The bird is on the wing, And his voice fills my heart. The vast firmament,
The limitless space, Enfold me.
I am thy lover, I am thy teacher, Renounce all And follow me, For my way Is
the way of Liberation.
Come,  Come  away,  O  love,  Sit  beside  me;  I  will  teach  thee  The  way  to
VII    97
My  well-Beloved  and  I  Hold  thee,  O  friend,  In  our  heart.  I  speak  to  thee
From the depths of my heart. I am united with my well-Beloved. I am as the
petal to the rose; I am as the scent to the jasmine, My well-Beloved and I Are
inseparable,  indivisible.  As  the  moon  reflects  the  glory  of  the  sun,  So  do  I
reflect the glory of my well-Beloved. As soft as the shade Of a moonlit night So
is my love for thee, O friend. As the whirlwinds that sweep O’er the lands, So is
my love That shall wipe out the darkness about thee. As the mountain streams
That come down with a roar Into the valley, So let my love enter into thee. As
the solitary tree Amidst the great mountains Withstands the raging winds, So
shall my love uphold thee In times of strife and affliction. As the sea putteth
forth mighty waves And conquereth all things So shall my love vanquish The
travail of thy life.
Yea, O friend, passing exceeding great Is my love for thee. Drink of it, thou
shalt be no more thirsty. Eat of it, thou shalt know of no hunger. Bind it to thy
heart, thou shalt not taste of sorrow. Write it down in the tablet of thy mind,
Thou shalt be the son of wisdom and understanding. Walk by the light of my
love, Thou shalt cast no shadow.
O  friend,  Come  unto  me,  I  will  show  thee  the  way  of  love.  Turn  not  thy
head, Close not up thine ears, Seal not up thy heart, But come after me, I will
lead thee To the abode of love. Oh! My heart acheth for thee, For thou dost
not listen To the voice of my love. Why dost thou not answer to my call? Why
dost  thou  walk  away  from  me?  Why  dost  thou  hide  thy  face  among  the
shadows?  Why  dost  thou  pursue  the  fleeting  That  engendereth  in  thee
sorrow?  Why  dost  thou  hold  thyself  against  me?  Why  art  thou  blind  to  my
love? Why dost thou eat out of the hand of affliction? Ah! Answer me, For I am
heavy with love.
The love that begetteth sorrow, The love that killeth the smile on an open
face, The love that changeth from moment to moment, The love that’s lonely in   98
its solitude, The love that’s haughty and oppressive, The love that destroyeth
the love for others, The love that binds and places a limitation, The love that’s
consumed with the fires of self, These thou shalt not taste of If thou walkest
with me.
O friend, What dost thou pursue? What’s the purpose that leadeth thee on?
What shadows entice thee on? What murmurings urge thee on? Whither goest
O friend, The divisions of people, The oppression of the poor, The wars of
nations, The exploitation of the ignorant,
The hatred of class against class, The strife after wealth, and the sorrow
thereof, The intricacy of governments, The portioning of lands, All these cease
to be In the clothing of love.
Doth not the man of the fields, After the labours of the day, Seek the shelter
of  love?  Doth  not  the  man  of  multitudes  of  things  Grow  weary  of  his
possessions And seek the shelter of love? Doth not the ruler of many peoples
Suffer the loneliness of his ambitions And seek the shelter of love. Doth not
the man of the temple, Caught up in the exhaustion of his worship, Seek the
shelter of love? Yea, All are in search of the abode That giveth them the glory
of love.
But why dost thou contest, O friend, One against another, In the pursuit of
love? Why this setting aside of joy In the hatred of one against another? Why
this consuming envy That setteth one against another, And destroyeth utterly
thy happiness?
Oh! My heart aches for thee, O friend. Keep open wide thy heart, And let no
dark shadows creep therein, For without love there shall be Desolation and a
strife  without  an  end.  Keep  pure  thy  heart,  For  with  impurity  There  shall  be
affliction  and  travail.  I  tell  thee  That  wherever  thou  art,  Whatever  be  thy
sorrow, Whatever be thy rejoicing, The way to the heart of the Beloved Is the
way of love. For it leadeth thee to simplicity, And to the faith that conquereth.   99
Understanding  cometh  by  the  way  Of  love,  And  knowledge  therefrom.  Yea,
Love all and therein lose thyself. My well-Beloved and I Hold thee, O friend, In
our heart. I speak to thee From the depth of my love. I am as the petal to the
rose,  I  am  as  the  scent  to  the  jasmine.  I  am  united  with  my  well-Beloved;
Come unto me: I am the heart of love.
The red, red moon arose Eastward, o’er the dreaming sea. The dark palm
sighs  With  the  coming  quiet  of  the  night.  The  distant  cry  of  a  bird  On  its
homeward flight, The soft ripple of cool waters Tapping the warm shores.
A heart burdened Of frenzied joy, near pain. A heart of understanding is my
A melodious song, Soft and plaintive, Cometh up from the deep shadows.
Oppressive grows the quiet night air. As the far winking light In the dark temple
tower,  Above  the  worshippers  And  their  groaning  prayers,  High  above  the
silent  Gods  Amidst  their  gloomy  abodes,  So  have  I  become,  Free  from  the
hand that wrought me, The conquerer of aching time And its sorrowing ways.
O  friend,  Come  away  from  the  complications  of  belief,  Destroy  the
monumental superstitions Of thy enslaving creed. But grow in the simplicity of
thy heart, In the shadows of thy suffering. O Beloved, My heart is heavy with
thy love.
Who shall give thee comfort In the days of thy trouble, In the days of thy
sorrow?  From  whom  shalt  thou  seek  The  consolation  of  thy  heart,  The
satisfaction of thy mind, In the days of darkness, In the days of affliction? As
the rain cometh And falleth on the land In due season, So, O friend, Sorrow   100
descends  on  all,  And  it  shall  spare  none.  The  poor  who  are  humble  in  the
ways Of life, The wealthy who are arrogant in their hearts, The oppressor who
maketh the land to cry, The ruler who is far from the peoples, The ardent lover
of God, The pursuer of fleeting pleasures; Yea, None shall be spared.
Shall the offering of flowers In the temple Bring to thee the lasting comfort
That thou seekest? Shall the chanting of many voices Chase away from thy
heart The shadow that covereth it? Shall the perfume of incense Drive away
from thy mind The anxiety that over-layeth it? Shalt thou forget the oppression
Of thy heart By the consuming of drink? Shalt thou chase away the shadow By
the company of many friends? Shall the multitude of rejoicings Bring to thee
the consolation That thou seekest? Shall songs and music Entice thee away
From thine affliction? Shall the fleeting love In its delight hold thee back From
thine  aching  heart?  O  friend,  As  the  dark  cloud  Blotteth  out  the  sun  And
casteth shadows on the land,
Sorrow shall encompass thee about And destroy the smile on thy face.
In  the  days  of  mine  illusion,  When  darkness  lay  about  me,  I  sought  to
overpower  The  sorrow-laden  heart  With  the  multitude  of  rejoicings.  Every
abode of music knew me, Every flower of decay held me, Every jewel of the
eye enticed me. The cool temples, With their great shadows And the cooing of
many doves, Gave the passing comfort of a day. The Gods thereof played with
me In the innocence of their greatness. They whispered to me of the life In the
haven of their rest. The preachers thereof Lulled me to sleep By the words of
their books, And the promises of reward For my good deeds. The perfume of
the sacred flowers Gave to me of their comfort.
As the leaf is The plaything of the winds, So was I the toy Of sorrow. As the
cloud is chased By the cruel winds, So was I driven From shelter to shelter By
the mutterings of affliction. But now, O friend, I am beyond The haven of the
Gods. The limitations of the preachers, Of books, No longer bind me. As the
soft breeze That plays about the temple, So have I become. Not a thing shall
hold me, For sorrow is the companion Of the seekers of shelter. Yea, I have   101
found  The  eternal  abode  of  happiness,  I  have  opened  up  The  fountain  of
lasting joy. I am beyond sorrow, I am liberated.
My Beloved abideth in me, We two are one.
O  friend,  I  tell  thee,  As  behavior  dwelleth  with  righteousness,  So  eternal
happiness abideth in thine own heart. This vain search After the desires of thy
heart Among the flowers of decay Holds thee in its shadows. Thou canst not
escape This fury of sorrow In a moment of forgetfulness. No God will give thee
The happiness thou seekest. No mutterings of sacred words Will loosen thee
From  the  cords  of  affliction.  There  is  no  way  To  that  abode  of  lasting
happiness Save by the union of the self With the Beloved.
Conceal not thy heart In the sanctity of thoughtlessness As the bird of prey
From  the  open  skies  Examines  the  fields  of  the  earth  For  its  food,  So  thou
must look into thy heart And destroy the shadows That are concealed therein,
For in the shade Hides the self. There must never be a moment of ease Or the
satisfaction of contentment, For thou shalt not behold The face of the Beloved
In  a  heart  heavy  with  stagnation.  There  must  be  revolt  And  great
discontentment, For with these Thou shalt purify thy heart. Who shall give thee
Of these things? Who will purify thee Of thy stagnation? Who shall uphold thee
In  thy  ceaseless  struggle?  The  perfume  cometh  forth  From  the  heart  of  the
lotus. O friend, I tell thee As behaviour dwelleth with righteousness, So eternal
happiness abideth in thine own heart.
At  the  great  heights  Where  the  snow-clad  mountains  Meet  the  blue
firmament, I met with two strangers. We talked awhile And separated, Never to
meet again.    102
As  two  ships,  On  the  vast  waters  of  the  sea,  pass  each  other,  And  the
travellers thereof Wave to each other, Never to meet again, So were we On
this sea of life.
Often Have I felt sad At the passing by Of a stranger, In some lonesome
spot.  But  yesterday,  When  the  two  strangers  That  I  met  with  Disappeared
Around  the  bend  of  a  narrow  path,  My  heart  went  with  them,  And  they
remained with me. Of what nationality, Of what faith, I know not, Nor care I.
They  were  like  unto  me,  Alone  in  a  solitary  place,  Seeking  new  visions,
Climbing greater heights, Struggling up dangerous paths, And going down to
the  valley  Once  again.  This  incessant  struggle  To  reach  the  mountain  top,
Rarely attaining the glory thereof, But ever descending To the plains, Where
man makes his abode, Has been my lot, Life upon life.
But  now,  O  strangers,  I  have  reached  the  pinnacle  Of  the  mysterious
mountain. I know full well The struggles thereof, The great chasms that divide,
The precipices That men Slip down I know full well The multitude of paths That
encircle the mountain, But they meet all At the narrow ridge Beyond which All
must  climb  upward  If  they  would  attain  The  mountain  summit.  There  is  only
one  path  Leading  upward  Beyond  that  ridge  Towards  which  all  paths  Come
O  strangers,  I  know not Where ye be, Through what joys, Through what
struggles Ye are passing, But ye are myself.
As two stars Of a sudden Come into being Of a dark night, So ye two Came
into my vision And there ye are established. My heart is the heart Of my well-
Beloved, It holdeth a multitude.
O  my  strangers,  Once  again  Ye  and  I  shall  meet,  I  dwell  in  the  abode
Which is the end Of all journey. To be united with the Beloved Is to love all,
For in all Dwelleth the Beloved.
XI    103
O friend, I show the way That shall open thy heart To the welcome of thy
Beloved. As the precious metal Is found at great depths And for the discovery
thereof Thou must delve deep down Into the heart of the world, So thou must,
If thou wouldst behold The face of the Beloved, Dive deep within thy heart And
tear aside The veil upon veil That hides the glory, The Light of thy life. As a fire
Is covered o’er With thick smoke Before it shall burst forth Into a roaring flame,
So,  O  friend,  Thy  heart  and  mind  Are  in  a  cloud  of  darkness  That  can  be
dispelled Only by the desire Of thy deep purpose.
O friend, Thy Beloved, The desire of thy heart, Is my well-Beloved. In times
past  There  was  a  veil  That  separated  Him  from  myself,  But  now  I  have
destroyed This separation And welcomed Him into my heart. He abideth there
And I am consumed With His love.
I tell thee That my well-Beloved Is the Beloved of all. He and I are one, We
are inseparable, Eternal and everlasting. Yea, I have found the way That shall
offer unto thee the ecstasy Of purpose, That shall unfold unto thee the beauty
Of  life,  That  shall  give  happiness  Unto  all,  That  shall  bring  unto  thee  the
comfort Of truth.
As the spark That shall give warmth Is hid among the grey ashes, So, O
friend, The light Which shall guide thee Is concealed Under the dust Of thine
O friend, Wait not for the dark shadows That shall fill the valley, Cutting off
The  sunlit  view  of  the  mountain,  For  by  the  light  of  day  Thou  canst  see  the
path That shall lead thee To the great heights Where the mists of life Shall not
confuse thee. This is the time When thou shouldst walk In the open light. The
Beloved is with thee, For He and I are One.
O friend, As in the time of winter Thou canst not sow the seeds That shall
give  thee  The  food  for  the  coming  year,  So  in  time  of  darkness,  Strife  and
confusion,  Thou  canst  not  lay  up  The  lasting  happiness  That  shall  be  the   104
wellspring  Of  thy  life.  O  friend,  As  in  the  springtime  When  every  seed  Shall
shoot forth To the glory of its fulfillment, So in the days Of thy great rejoicing
Every deed of thy thought, Every action of thy feeling Shall come forth To its
full fruition, And it shall give thee The burden thereof. O friend, As in the time
of  decay,  How  sad  it  is  That  the  green  foliage  Should  wither  and  die,  So
grievous it is That in the time of desolation There be none to deliver thee From
the shadows of thy creation. O friend, There is a time for all things. This is the
time When thou shouldst walk In the open light. The Beloved is with thee For
He and I are One.
As a traveller In the full knowledge Of his voyage puts aside the things that
shall weigh him down On his journey, So, O friend, Set aside all things That
shall compass thee On thy journey In search of the Beloved. For without the
Beloved There shall be no comfort There shall be no rejoicing, There will be no
permanency But There shall be confusion, Strife and the conflict of purpose, A
darkness and a searching, A misery and a travail.
O friend, The Beloved is thyself. But to realize Him And to hold Him Fast in
thy heart, Firm in thy mind, There must be no dark spot Hidden away In thy
being. No false comforters, No pleasant Gods Who give thee counsel Of ease,
No greeds that bind thee, No beliefs that shelter thee In their dark shadows;
No  thoughts,  no  affections  that  hold  thee.  O  friend,  pursue  the  self  From
shelter to larger shelter, From temple to greater temple, From desire to greater
desire, From conceit to greater conceit. Mercilessly chase him Down the paths
of  his  delights,  Relentlessly  question  him  Of  his  dying  certainties.  Till  in  the
long last, O friend, Thou drivest him To the open light Where he shall cast no
shadow, Where he shall be united With the Beloved. Then thou shalt realize
The Beloved, Then thou shalt be Like unto myself.
O friend, There is a time for all things. This is the time When thou shouldst
walk In the open light. The Beloved is with me For He and I are One.
XII    105
My  Beloved  and  I  Are  one.  I  come  forth  from  Him,  My  being  is  in  Him.
Without Him I am As the cloud that wandereth from one shelter To another,
That hath no resting place. In Him Is my rest. In Him Is my glory. For in Him All
things  exist  And  I  in  all.  O  friend,  I  tell  thee  Of  the  way  to  the  heart  Of  the
Beloved.  For  I  am  the  Beloved.  My  Beloved  and  I  Are  One.  As  a  dew  drop
Entereth the sea, So have I become one With my Beloved.
The well-Beloved Is in all. All things are in the Beloved. The blade of grass
That  men  do  tread  down,  The  great  spreading  tree  That  giveth  shelter,  The
green reptile That men hold in terror, The fly that annoyeth The seller of the
sweetmeat, The singing bird That delighteth the ear, The fierce lion That giveth
fear  To  the  heart  of  the  forest,  The  simple  barbarian  That  men  hold  up  in
contempt, The man of great knowledge That giveth satisfaction to many, The
worshipper of many gods That wandereth from shrine to shrine.
Life is one As my Beloved and I Are one. There is only one way To the
heart of the Beloved. That path lieth Through thyself, Through thine own heart.
Of that I tell thee. There be many forms Of His manifestation, But there is only
one way, O friend, That leadeth me To the heart of my well-Beloved.
In times When I obeyed The laws of the gods, Of the world, I walked on the
paths  That  lead  to  their  shrines,  And  there  I  was  held  in  the  power  Of  their
small authority, But the fury of discontentment Drove me on, Never stayed I In
the shelter Of the temple. As one wandereth From place to place In search of
lasting comfort, So wandered I, Setting aside the comforts That gave me over
to sleep, Till in the long last I opened my heart; There found I My well-beloved.
Many will tell thee, O friend, That there be various works, Many ways To the
approach of the Beloved. Yea, There be, But they all lead To one path, For
there is only one way To the heart of the Beloved. Of that I tell thee. If thou
wouldst discover My well-Beloved That abides in me, O friend, Then thou must
Set aside all thy gods, Thy comforts, thy small authorities. Thou must cleanse
thyself Of thy conceit of little knowledge. Thou must purify thyself Of thy heart   106
and  mind.  Thou  must  renounce  all  Thy  companions,  Thy  friends,  thy  family,
Thy father, thy mother, Thy sister and thy brother. Yea, Thou must renounce
all. Thou must destroy Thy self utterly, To find the Beloved.
O friend, Wouldst thou walk In the light of a candle When I give thee The
light  of  the  Beloved?  I  tell  thee  My  Beloved  and  I  are  one.  I  know  the  way.
Come with me, I shall lead thee To my heart Where dwells the Beloved. There
be many reflections That fade and die away, But I possess The truth That is
everlasting. Of that I give thee, O friend. Why is there doubt In thy heart? Art
thou happy in the shadows? Do men give thee The substance that shall satisfy
thy  hunger?  Thou  playest  by  the  rivers  Of  water,  But  they  quench  not  Thy
burning thirst. Art thou content With the decaying? O friend, My heart is heavy
with love For thee. Come to me And I shall give thee Of my love, That knoweth
no alteration, That knoweth no decay, That withereth not, For my well-Beloved
and I Are one. I come from Him, I tell thee Of the way that lieth hid In the heart
of my Beloved. I shall open unto thee The gate That shall admit thee To the
abode  of  my  well-Beloved.  That  valley  lieth  in  the  shadow  Of  a  deep  cloud,
And I dwell among The mountain tops. Yea, My well-Beloved and I are one.
I  am  the  blue  firmament  and  the  black  cloud,  I  am  the  waterfall  and  the
sound thereof, I am the graven image and the stone by the wayside, I am the
rose and the falling petals thereof, I am the flower of the field and the sacred
lotus, I am the sanctified waters and the still pool, I am the tree that towereth
among the mountains And the blade of grass in the peaceful lane, I am the
tender spring leaf and the evergreen foliage. I am the barbarian and the sage,
I am the pious and the impious, I am the godly and the ungodly, I am the harlot
and the virgin, I am the liberated and the man of time, I am the renunciation
and  the  proud  possessor,  I  am  the  destructible  and  the  indestructible.  I  am
neither This nor That, I am neither detached nor attached, I am neither heaven   107
nor hell, I am neither philosophies nor creeds, I am neither the Guru nor the
O friend, I contain all.
I  am  clear  as  the  mountain  stream,  Simple  as  the  new  spring  leaf.  Few
know me. Happy are they That meet with me.
I cannot teach you to pray, O friend, Nor can I teach you to weep. I am not
the God of your long prayers, Nor am I the cause of your many sorrows. They
are made by the hand of man.
Come  with  me,  O  friend,  I  will  lead  you  To  the  fountain  of  Happiness.
Laughter is as the honey In the heart of the scented flower. You shall drink of it
In that garden of roses Where all desire ceases Save the desire to be like the
This pool of Wisdom Is not made by the hand of man, Nor are the steps
leading  down  to  its  clear  waters.  There  you  will  meet  with  every  man,  The
brown, the white, The black, the yellow. In its pure waters, You will behold the
face of my Beloved.
Come, O friend, Leave all your passing joys, Your burning anxieties, Your
aching  sorrows,  Your  fading  love,  Your  ever-growing  desires.  For  all  these
lead but to prayer, To the cause of many tears. As the passing wind is the life
of man, As the withering rose is the love of man, The glory and the strength
Are gone in but a day.
I have drunk deep at this pool. My Beloved has filled me With the delights
of eternity.
XV    108
Truth is neither evil nor good, Truth is neither love nor hate, Truth is neither
the  pure  nor  the  impure,  Truth  is  neither  holy  nor  unholy,  Truth  is  neither
simple nor complex, Truth is neither of heaven nor hell, Truth is neither moral
nor immoral, Truth is neither of the God nor of the devil, Truth is neither virtue
nor vice, Truth is neither birth nor death, Truth is neither in religion nor without
religion. Truth is as the waters – -it wanders, It has no resting place. For Truth
is Life. I saw the mountain come down to the valley. XVI
Desire is Life. The fulfillment of Life Is the perfection of Desire.
As  the  scent  of  a  lone  flower  is  desire  That  fades  with  the  death  of  the
flower, That has no being in itself But comes into rejoicing with Life;
As  the  roaring  waters  rushing  through  the  dark  valley  –  –  Hidden,
boisterous, terrible – – So is desire.
As  angry  as  the  waters  seeking  a  release  Is  desire.  Woe  to  him  who  is
caught up therein.
Through the dark valley Lie the open, smiling fields, And the scent of many
The fear of desire Is the putting away of Life.
In the corruption of the known Man is stifled By his fear of the unknown.
As a lone cloud is driven in search of a secluded valley, So, pursued by
fear, Man creates out of the known The protection of the image of God. In that
protection fear is multiplied. Strange is the way of the shadow of fear.    109
The voice of fear calls out And man burdens the earth With the loveliness
of a distant paradise And with the horror of a near hell. The shadow of fear
covers the land.
Between himself and his fear Man builds a temple for the image of his God,
And in its dark shadows is born a religion of great panoply, Whose threat is
conditioned by a loving priest.
Against  that  fear  which  he  calls  death,  Man  seeks  out  a  way  for  the
furtherance  of  life,  And  in  that  search  fear  is  the  master  of  his  love.  The
sacrifice of the unwise is out of the burden of fear.
The burden of wealth is the fear of the rich. The poor are caught up in the
desire  for  possession.  Envy,  hatred,  ambition,  pride  of  dignity,  judgment  of
convention, The good, the evil, and the cruelty of binding morality, Are but the
sign posts on the path of fear. If fear be the source of thought, Then shall there
be darkness in the land. If the bubbling wellspring of love be corrupted by fear,
Then its clear waters shall create a burning thirst In the mouth of man.
Ah,  friend,  The  loveliness  of  life  is  not  the  child  of  fear  But  it  lies  in  the
womb  of  understanding.  Fear  brings  forth  the  tears  of  the  world.  Laughter
rejoices in the wake of true love.
A dried pool aches for the coming rains. XVIII
Place not thy love in the scent of a decaying violet, But hold in thy heart
that love which is Life, That love which is of the Beloved. As a great flame that
defies all corruption So is this love of the Beloved.
O friend, Why dost thou need the still weight of temples When Life dances
in the street?
O friend, Why dost thou hide in fear – – Of death, of loneliness, of sorrow – –
When Life rejoices about thee in the swaying fields?    110
O friend, Why dost thou seek the passing comfort When Life gives of its
eternal  understanding?  O,  be  the  creators  of  great  mountains  Rather  than
seek guides To lead thee up their dangerous ways.
I am Life, I am the Beloved, The flame that defies all corruption.
Ah, come with me, Walk in the way of Life – – Love which brings no death.
O friend, I am anxious for thee.
The long race with time, The ceaseless dance with the winds of space, The
burden of lonely sorrow And the gathering in of joy: They are over, and I await
thee As the parched land the coming rains. The love that corrupts the form of
its loveliness, Offerings to pacify the inward fear of thought, Vain hopes void of
understanding, Visions and dreams ever in the semblance of man, Death that
creates darkness in life: They are over, and I await thee As the lotus the cool
night air.
Hear me, O friend, I await thee, As the snowy peak in a still valley.
In the choicest of valleys There is moaning and lamentation, In the great
thoroughfares  of  men  There  is  the  laughter  of  changing  sadness,  In  the
melodious  song  There  is  the  emptiness  of  fulfilled  desire,  Upon  the  lofty
mountain There awaits the stillness of death.
Wave  upon  wave  Comes  the  action  of  men  To  break  lonely  upon  the
shores of vain glory. The whirlwind of young love Grows sad within the fold of
a single day. Thought conquers the great regions of time, Only to return to the
bondage Of a deceiving mind.
Ah, desire is as young as the first ray of dawn, And sad as the procession
of death to the grave; Struggle, the pursuit of fleeting pleasure, Toil, the dull
pain of easy ambition, Gain, the gathering of the peculiar treasures of the rich,   111
Domination,  the  cry  of  perverted  judgment  that  holds  the  heart  of  the
oppressor, Greed, the cruelty of privation that corrupts the growth of life, Fear,
the eager search after the shelters of comfort, Worship, the deep forgetfulness
from the confusion of many desires.
To the music of the distant flute Flows the wide, ancient river, Fresh with
young waters. Many chants are sung in praise of happiness, Many gods are
invoked as guides to happiness, Many heavens are glorified as enticements to
happiness,  Many  altars  are  built  to  happiness,  Many  rites  are  performed  as
offerings  to  happiness,  Many  benedictions  are  asked  as  protection  for
happiness, Many truths are extolled in anguish for happiness, Many virtues are
sought  in  fear  for  happiness,  Many  possessions  are  gathered  in  hope  of
happiness,  Many  desires  are  gratified  in  expectation  of  happiness,  Many
sacrifices  are  made  in  quest  of  happiness,  Many  austerities  are  imposed  in
longing for happiness.
Deep in the mire the seed of the lotus is in travail, The soft fragrance lies
hid in the heart of the flower.
Life is one. It has no beginning, no end, The source and the goal live in
your heart. You are caught up In the darkness of its wide chasm. Life has no
creed, no belief, It is of no nation, of no sanctuary, Not bound by birth or by
death,  Neither  male  nor  female.  Can  you  bind  the  «waters  in  a  garment»  Or
«gather the wind in your fists»?
Answer, O friend.
Drink at the fountain of Life. Come, I will show the way. The mantle of Life
covers all things.
XXII    112
As the potter’s vessels break to pieces, So are they broken who look for
shelter, For therein lie sorrow and ever changing confusion. They that desire
comfort Shall find desolation. Tears shall await those Who have established
comfort in the loftiness of their purpose.
I met a man in the shadow of a temple And I beheld my face in his tears.
None shall wake thee from thy weariness And the sun shall have arisen and
set Before thou walkest forth. The fatness of thy heart Shall blind thine eye in
time of affliction, And as a man is lost in the darkness of the forest, So shall it
be with thee If thou stayest in the sanctuary of a graven thought. Ah, friend,
Great must be the burning fire To consume thy house of comfort, To increase
thy  devouring  anxiety,  For  out  of  that  confusion  Shall  be  born  full
understanding. Take council with the whole For in the part there is decay.
There is order in the freedom of Life But in bondage a great confusion.
Smooth as the waters that delight In the burden of the pure eye of heaven,
So is Life in the fullness of its freedom. Furious as the waters that are bound –
–  Filling  the  valley  with  deep  anguish  –  –  So  is  Life  in  the  bondage  of  its
Let  Life  paint  of  its  loveliness  On  the  canvas  of  thy  being.  Be  thou  the
background  for  its  fullness.  And  withhold  it  not  its  even  flow.  He  who  walks
upright amidst confusion Is in love with Life.
Ah, come sit beside me by the sea, open and free. I will tell thee of that
inward calmness As of the still deep; Of that inward freedom As of the skies;
Of  that  inward  happiness  As  of  the  dancing  waters.  And  as  now  the  moon
makes a silent path on the dark sea, So beside me lies the clear path of pure
understanding. The groaning sorrow is hid under a mocking smile, The heart is   113
heavy with the burden of corruptible love, The deceptions of the mind pervert
Ah, come sit beside me Open and free. As the even flow of clear sunlight,
So shall thine understanding come to thee. The burdensome fear of anxious
waiting Shall go from thee as the waters recede before the rushing winds. Ah,
come sit beside me, Thou shalt know of the understanding of true love. As the
mind drives the blind clouds, So shall thy brutish prejudice be driven by clear
thought. The moon is in love with the sun And the stars fill the skies with their
laughter. Oh, come sit beside me Open and free.
To  a  man  of  true  purpose  There  is no renunciation; For  he  is  not  drawn
away from the path of pure understanding By the confusion of experience, By
the multitude of desires, By the deceitfulness of thought.
He is not held by the fear of sacrifice: For the man of true purpose, Time
creates not its wasteful abundance.
I  saw  of  an  evening,  Over  a  city  of  vast  habitation,  A  bird  swiftly  flying
towards its distant home. XXVI
I walked on a path through the jungle Which an elephant had made, And
about me lay a tangle of wilderness. The voice of desolation fills the distant
plain. And the city is noisy with the bells of a tall temple. Beyond the jungle are
the  great  mountains,  Calm  and  clear.  In  the  fear  of  Life  The  temptation  of
sorrow is created.
Cut down the jungle – -not one mere tree, For Truth is attained By putting
aside all that you have sown.
And now I walk with the elephant.
POEM    114
The world moans and languishes, Thought is ashamed and made crooked.
Love is a wilderness and a cruel confusion. The pure blossom of Life is turned
to dust.
How they suffer, how they despise! The anger of contempt breeds hatred,
And affection is smitten in the midst of the street. The shadow of weariness
lies on the face of man.
His ambition is in the dust of decay, His doubt creates a darkness about
him, His talk is as the sound of many hoofs On the smooth-paved roads Filling
the silent house. His glory, his pomp, his rejoicings, Cover the empty spaces of
his loneliness. The dark fear of death Snatches away the jewel in his eye. And
as the spider weaves with delicate ease its web So man weaves the stuff of
common events But is caught up in its exquisite confusion. His days are spent
in the destruction of his handiwork.
The song of the river, The wandering of the waters, And a dead tree in full
summer. Ah, in the cruel confusion of purpose The pure blossom of Life lies
withering. Who shall nourish it, who shall uphold it, Who shall awaken it to its
sweet fragrance?
My Beloved calls And the echo goes aching down the valley.
I am the path Leading to the sheltered garden Of thy heart, O world. I am
the fountain That feeds thy garden, O world, With the tears Of my experience.
I  am  the  scented  flower  That  beautifies  thy  garden,  The  honey  thereof,  The
delight of thy heart. Destroy the weeds In thy garden, O world, And keep thy
heart pure and strong, For there alone I can grow.
Create  no  barriers  In  the  garden  of  thy  heart,  O  world,  For  in  limitation  I
wither  and  die.  I  have  a  garden  In  my  heart,  O  world,  Where  every  flower
Speaketh of thee.       Open the gates Of thy garden of thy heart, O world, And let me in. Without
me There shall be no shade, Nor the soft breeze From the cool mountains.
I have a garden in my heart, O world, That hath no beginning And no end,
Where the mighty Do sit with the poor, Where the Gods Do delight with the
human. Open as the vast skies, Clear as the mountain stream, Strong as the
tree in the wind, Is my heart.
Come, O world, Gather thy flowers In the garden of my heart.
Desire is life, And the freedom of life is the freedom from desire. Love is
life, And the happiness of life is the incorruptibility of love. Thought is life, And
union with life is the glory of a boundless mind.
With the eternity of life, Inseparable, undecaying and immeasurable, I am in
union: Mine immortality is my Beloved, The Beloved of all life.
O friend, Sorrow is the flower of understanding And it beareth the fruit of
rejoicing. Out of the fullness of thy heart Invite sorrow And the joy thereof shall
be in abundance. Sorrow shall bring forth love eternal, Sorrow shall unfold the
weaving of Life, Sorrow shall give the strength of loneliness, Sorrow shall open
the closed doors of thy heart, Sorrow shall conquer the spaces of eternity. Out
of the fullness of thy heart Invite sorrow. As the streams swell After the great
rains And the pebbles rejoice once again In the murmur of running waters, So
shall the gatherings by the wayside Fill the emptiness that creates fear. The
scent  is  coming  on  the  breeze.  Take  not  shelter  In  the  abode  of  authority
Where  breed  comfort  and  decay.  Come  away,  come  away.  To  go  far,  Thou
must begin near. To climb high, Thou must begin low.
The voice of sorrow is the song of fulfillment And the rejoicings therein The
fullness of Life.



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