Tag Archive: spiritual poetry


You owe me — Hafez

Owed

“Even
After
All this time
The Sun never says to the Earth,

“You owe me.”

Look
What happens
With a love like that,
It lights the whole sky.” —- Hafez

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Emptiness

“When everyone is trying to be something, be nothing.

Range with emptiness.

Human should be like a pot.

As the pot is hold by its emptiness inside,

human is hold by the awareness of his nothingness.”   —- Shams Tabrizi

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Freedom — Khalil Gibran

n

And an orator said, “Speak to us of Freedom.”
And he answered:

At the city gate and by your fireside I have seen you prostrate yourself and worship your own freedom,
Even as slaves humble themselves before a tyrant and praise him though he slays them.

Ay, in the grove of the temple and in the shadow of the citadel I have seen the freest among you wear their freedom as a yoke and a handcuff.

And my heart bled within me; for you can only be free when even the desire of seeking freedom becomes a harness to you, and when you cease to speak of freedom as a goal and a fulfillment.

You shall be free indeed when your days are not without a care nor your nights without a want and a grief, But rather when these things girdle your life and yet you rise above them naked and unbound.

And how shall you rise beyond your days and nights unless you break the chains which you at the dawn of your understanding have fastened around your noon hour ?

In truth that which you call freedom is the strongest of these chains, though its links glitter in the sun and dazzle the eyes.

And what is it but fragments of your own self you would discard that you may become free?  If it is an unjust law you would abolish, that law was written with your own hand upon your own forehead.

You cannot erase it by burning your law books nor by washing the foreheads of your judges, though you pour the sea upon them.

And if it is a despot you would dethrone, see first that his throne erected within you is destroyed.

For how can a tyrant rule the free and the proud, but for a tyranny in their own freedom and a shame in their won pride?  And if it is a care you would cast off, that care has been chosen by you rather than imposed upon you.

And if it is a fear you would dispel, the seat of that fear is in your heart and not in the hand of the feared.  Verily all things move within your being in constant half embrace, the desired and the dreaded, the repugnant and the cherished, the pursued and that which you would escape.

These things move within you as lights and shadows in pairs that cling.

When the shadow fades and is no more, the light that lingers becomes a shadow to another light.

thus your freedom when it loses its fetters becomes itself the fetter of a greater freedom.

The following lines are from the book “The Madmen” by Khalil Gibran, one of my favorite authors:

DEFEAT

Defeat, my defeat, my solitude and my aloofness;

You are dearer to me than a thousand triumphs,

And sweeter to my heart than all worldglory.

Defeat , my defeat, my self-knowledge and my defiance,

Through you I know that I am yet young and swift of foot

And not to be trapped by withering laurels.

And in you I have found aloneness

And the joy of being shunned and scorned.

Defeat, my Defeat, my shining sword and shield,

In your eyes I have read,

That to be enthroned is to be enslaved,

And to be understood is to be leveled down,

And to be grasped is but to reach one’s fullness

And like a ripe fruit to fall and be consumed

Defeat, my Defeat, my bold companion,

You shall hear my songs and my cries and my silences,

And none but you shall speak to me of beating of wings,

And urging of seas,

And of mountains that burn in the night,

And you alone shall climb my steep and rocky soul.

Defeat, my Defeat, my deathless courage,

You and I shall laugh together with the storm,

And together we shall dig graves for all that die in us,

And together we shall stand in the sun with will,

And we shall be dangerous.

Drunk —Rumi

Every question I ask is about you,
Every step I take is towards you.
I slept well last night
but I woke up drunk.
I must have dreamt about you. —Rumi

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Solitude – Rumi

“Study me as much as you like, you will not know me,

for I differ in a hundred ways from what you see me to be.

Put yourself behind my eyes and see me as I see myself,

for I have chosen to dwell in a place you cannot see.”       —Rumi

 

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On an evening two angels met at the city gate, and they greeted one another, and they conversed. The one angel said, “What are you doing these days, and what work is given you?”

And the other answered, “It was been assigned me to be the guardian of a fallen man who lives down in the valley, a great sinner, most degraded. Let me assure you it is an important task, and I work hard.”

The first fallen angel said, “That is an easy commission. I have often known sinners, and have been their guardian many a time. But it has now been assigned me to be the guardian of the good saint who lives in a bower out yonder. And I assure you that is an exceedingly difficult work, and most subtle.”

Said the first angel, “This is but assumption. How can guarding a saint be harder than guarding a sinner?”
And the other answered, “What impertinence, to call me assumptious! I have stated but the truth. Methinks it is you who are assumptious!”

Then the angels wrangled and fought, first with words and then with fists and wings. While they were fighting an archangel came by. And he stopped them, and said, “Why do you fight? And what is it all about? Know you not that it is most unbecoming for guardian angels to fight at the city gate? Tell me, what is your disagreement?”

Then both angels spoke at once, each claiming that the work given him was the harder, and that he deserved the greater recognition.

The archangel shook his head and bethought him. Then he said, “My friends, I cannot say now which one of you has the greater claim upon honor and reward. But since the power is bestowed in me, therefore for peace’ sake and for good guardianship, I give each of you the other’s occupation, since each of you insists that the other’s task is the easier one. Now go hence and be happy at your work.”

The angels thus ordered went their ways. But each one looked backward with greater anger at the archangel. And in his heart each was saying, “Oh, these archangels! Every day they make life harder and still harder for us angels!”
But the archangel stood there, and once more he bethought him. And he said in his heart, “We have indeed, to be watchful and to keep guard over our guardian angels.”

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Oh Nijaam — Amir Khusro

Beholding your appearance, Oh Nijaam
I offer myself in sacrifice.
Amongst all the girls, my scarf is the most soiled,
Look, the girls are laughing at me.
This spring, please dye my scarf for me,
Oh Nijaam, protect my honour.
In the name of Ganj-e Shakar (Nizamuddin Aulia’s pir),
Protect my honour, Oh beloved Nijaam.
Qutab and Farid have come in the wedding procession,
And Khusrau is the loving bride, Oh Nijaam.
Some have to fight with the mother-in-law,
While some with sisters-in-law,
But I have you for support, Oh Nijaam. —-Amir Khusro

 

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Bride by Amir Khusro

You’ve taken away my looks, my identity, by just a glance.
By making me drink the wine of love-potion,
You’ve intoxicated me by just a glance;
My fair, delicate wrists with green bangles in them,
Have been held tightly by you with just a glance.
I give my life to you, Oh my cloth-dyer,
You’ve dyed me in yourself, by just a glance.
I give my whole life to you Oh, Nijam,
You’ve made me your bride, by just a glance. —-Amir Khusro

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Khalil Gibran on Love

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.”
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

Praise to the emptiness that blanks out existence. Existence:
This place made from our love for that emptiness!

Yet somehow comes emptiness,
this existence goes.

Praise to that happening, over and over!
For years I pulled my own existence out of emptiness.

Then one swoop, one swing of the arm,
that work is over.

Free of who I was, free of presence, free of dangerous fear, hope,
free of mountainous wanting.

The here-and-now mountain is a tiny piece of a piece of straw
blown off into emptiness.

These words I’m saying so much begin to lose meaning:
Existence, emptiness, mountain, straw:

Words and what they try to say swept
out the window, down the slant of the roof.

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Kahlil Gibran on Marriage

Now since it is the season of marriage in India (usually there are two seasons winters and summers, in winters it starts from November to February, summers I think it is from May to August ) and many  people who I know are getting married (friends, cousins and acquaintances). I just glanced through Kahlil Gibran’s book just to get an idea about his thoughts on this matter.

Khalil Gibran’s poetry and more importantly his book The Prophet gives a very good insight for the married, just married or about to be married couples.

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

This poem is another proof of the brilliance of khalil Gibran, out of many other  poems of his, this I find very enchanting. Those parents who believe and consider children to “oblige” to their demands, considering themselves as gods (in short fueling their egos). I think it is a good answer.

For those about to be parents, it is a cautionary note, not to fool themselves into believing that they hold any command over anyone. For circle of life has power beyond few immediate living beings.

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you.
And though they are with you, they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite.
And He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hands be for happiness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
So He loves the bow that is stable.

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The Bride-Soul by Kabir

Kabir

The Bride – Soul Longs for Her Husband, The Beloved

When will that day dawn, Mother;

When the One I took birth for

Holds me to His heart with deathless love?

I long for the bliss of divine union.

I long to lose my body, mind, and soul

And become one with my husband.

When will that day dawn, Mother?

Husband, fulfil now the longing I have had

Since before the universe was made.

Enter me completely and release me.

In terrible lonely years without You

I yearn and yearn for You.

I spend sleepless nights hunting for You,

Gazing into darkness after You,

With unblinking hopeless eyes.

When will that day dawn, Mother?

When will my Lord hold me to His heart?

My empty bed, like a hungry tigress,

Devours me whenever I try to sleep.

Listen to your slave’s prayer –

Come and put out this blaze of agony

That consumes my soul and body.

When will He hold me to His heart?

When will that day dawn, Mother?

Kabir sings, “If I ever meet You, my Beloved,

I’ll cling to you so fiercely You melt into me;

I’ll sing from inside You songs of union,

World-dissolving songs of Eternal Bliss.”

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