By James Bean
I once gave a tape to a friend containing some of my readings from the poetry of Rumi, Kabir, Dadu, Darshan Singh, Tukarama, Hafiz, and several other great souls. After listening to this recording they said, “it was as if it is the same voice or person speaking through all these Masters of history” even though they are often separated by many centuries, great distances, and spoke many different languages. I pondered this for awhile and it struck me that she was indeed correct; there really is one voice speaking through all these devotees of Bhakti. Lovers of the Beloved all speak with the same “accent” of love. When we encounter outpourings of the heart of such magnitude, we really are hearing the Voice of the soul in it’s blissful communion with the Beloved, the Oversoul.
Let them try to imprison Him in temple, mosque and church!
The seeing eye finds the Beloved’s signs in every mote.
Very near your heart are seekers of your Vision;
Those who look at the surface are exiled from
the Beloved’s Light.
What can I say of the grace He showers on me within?
Darshan, the moment I close my eyes, the Beloved’s
Light begins. (Love’s Last Madness, Darshan Singh, Hohm Press)
Sometimes there is almost an erotic quality to these mystic-verses of souls such as Rumi, Kabir, Mirabai, Muktabai, Jnanadeva, Tukarama, Hafiz, Rabia, Hazrat Sultan Bahu, Bullah Shah, Daya Bai, Sahjo Bai, Surdas, Baba Farid, Bhikha Sahib, Ravidas, Namdeva, Dariya of Bihar, Garib Das, Eknatha, Shams of Tabriz, and countless others. Rumi says, “Only Lovers can escape from these two worlds. This was written in creation. There is no salvation for the soul, but to fall in love. Only from the heart can you reach the sky.” The Hermetic axiom, “As above, so below” declares that some aspects of creation are reflections of even more glorious heavenly realities above, and thus, it makes sense these words of mystics embracing the divine in a soul-Oversoul relationship, would parallel soul-to-soul romantic love, and that many of these very same verses would be perfect to share with someone on Valentine’s Day!
Looking For Your Face
From the beginning of my life
I have been looking for your face
but today I have seen it
Today I have seen
the charm, the beauty,
the unfathomable grace
of the face
that I was looking for
Today I have found you
and those who laughed
and scorned me yesterday
are sorry that they were not looking
as I did
I am bewildered by the magnificence
of your beauty
and wish to see you
with a hundred eyes
My heart has burned with passion
and has searched forever
for this wondrous beauty
that I now behold
I am ashamed
to call this love human
and afraid of God
to call it divine
Your fragrant breath
like the morning breeze
has come to the stillness of the garden
You have breathed new life into me
I have become your sunshine
and also your shadow
My soul is screaming in ecstasy
Every fiber of my being
is in love with you
has lit a fire in my heart
and made radiant for me
the earth and sky
My arrow of love
has arrived at the target
I am in the house of mercy
and my heart
is a place of prayer. (The Love Poems of Rumi, D. Chopra, Translations by Farsi scholar Fereydoun Kia, Harmony Books)
Few can equal Rumi’s rapturous utterances of ecstasy, but there is one such poetic soul, and his name was Kabir. In recent years, the poetry of Kabir has started to catch on in the West, even as many have become quite fond of Rumi and Hafiz. He lived in the fifteenth century, born near Banaras, of Muslim parents. He freely used symbols from both Hinduism and Islam. “Kabir” is an Islamic name popular in the Muslim world — it is one of the “Ninety-Nine Names of Allah” found in the Koran, meaning, “The Greatest”. Kabir is considered by many to be one of the world’s greatest poet-mystics, and Master-Saints. Like countless other contemplative souls, near-death experiencers, visionaries, and explorers of Inner Space, Kabir declares that the Truth of the universe is even more wonderful than we could possibly imagine. Says Kabir:
Wake Up O Soul
0 swan, let us recall
the primordial days;
where your roots lie,
0 swan, and
where are you going?
What have you achieved,
0 swan, and
what you still long for?
Now is the dawn, wake up,
0 swan, and
come with us to a country,
where doubt and misery
never prey on, and
death arouses no awe;
always blossom, and
the air hums the Music-divine;
where the heart-bee sips
from within, and
transcends all desires. (Says Kabir, Sushila Mahajan, Deep and Deep Publications, New Delhi)
The Unending Caress of My Beloved
He has awaited me for countless ages.
Yet I did not know the bliss that was
so near to me, for my love was not
But now, my Lover has made known
to me the meaning of the note that
struck my ear:
Now, my good fortune is come.
Kabir says: “Behold! how great is
my good fortune! I have received
the unending caress of my Beloved!” (Songs of Kabir, Rabindranath Tagore)
The Beloved I Am
Hold the Beloved
Captive in your heart;
Revel with Him in all bliss,
But let no one see
Eight watches, sixty-four beats
My entire being looks only at Thee;
Listen, friend, I dwell in my Beloved
And my Beloved dwells in me;
I cannot distinguish between
My Beloved and myself;.
I know not whether
The soul dwells in me
Or dwells my Beloved. (Encyclopaedia of Saints of India: Kabir, Volume 2, Criterion Publications, New Delhi)
A Million Suns are Ablaze with Light –
The Music That Transcends –
Few There Are Who Know It Fully
Where Spring, the lord of the seasons, reigneth,
there the Unstruck Music sounds of itself,
There the Streams of Light flow in all directions;
Few are the ones who can cross to that shore!
There, where millions of Krishnas stand with hands folded,
Where millions of Vishnus bow their heads,
Where millions of Brahmâs are reading the Vedas,
Where millions of Shivas are lost in contemplation,
Where millions of Indras dwell in the sky,
Where the demi-gods and the munis are unnumbered,
Where millions of Saraswatis, Goddess of Music, play on the Vina –
There is my Lord self-revealed: and the scent of sandal and flowers
dwells in those deeps.
O my heart! let us go to that country where dwells the Beloved, the
ravisher of my heart!
There Love is filling her pitcher from the well, yet she has no rope
wherewith to draw water;
There the clouds do not cover the sky, yet the rain falls down in
O bodiless one! do not sit on your doorstep; go forth and bathe
yourself in that rain!
There it is ever moonlight and never dark; and who speaks of one sun
only? that land is illuminate with the rays of a million suns!
The Lord is in me, the Lord is in you, as life is in every seed. O
servant! put false pride away, and seek for Him within you.
A million suns are ablaze with Light,
The sea of blue spreads in the sky,
The fever of life is stilled, and all stains are washed away; when I
sit in the midst of that world.
Hark to the unstruck Bells and Drums! Take your delight in love!
Rains pour down without water, and the rivers are Streams of Light.
One Love it is that pervades the whole world, few there are who know
They are blind who hope to see it by the light of reason, that
reason which is the cause of separation-
The House of Reason is very far away!
How blessed is Kabir, that amidst this great joy he sings within his
It is the Music of the meeting of soul with soul;
It is the Music of the forgetting of sorrows;
It is the Music that transcends all coming in and all going forth. (Songs of Kabir, Rabindranath Tagore)