An article on spiritual poetry by Manatita
The inspiration for my poetry began as a young child growing up in the Caribbean. On cool dark, wintry nights, in the village of Hermitage, St Patrick's on the island of Grenada, the boys and I would sit on the side of the road telling Annancy [traditional folklore] stories until the early hours of the morning. Our only, yet precious comfort, was the taste of piped water coming directly from the 'boiling' springs. Of course, the stories themselves gave tremendous joy and inspiration, together with a deep sense of love and brotherly comradeship. I have not heard stories such as ours since, neither have I encountered the purity and self-giving nature of this life-energising water on those cool dark nights.
It was not until the early 70s that I continued my work. The divine poet, to me, is inspired unconsciously, as well as consciously. As to whether the inner accolade that comes from poetry is greater when the poet is conscious of the higher force or not conscious, I leave for others to decide. What is do know is that some of my earlier works, while written for the mundane, contained many lofty and sublime pieces. This I was only able to recognise with my spiritual awakening and the depth of inner awareness given to me on Sri Chinmoy's path. So even prior to my conscious awakening, I was unconsciously reaching for higher ideals.
My first poems that I wrote on Sri Chinmoy's path were 'prayers' written in the 80s, composed to assist me in my life of spiritual pursuit. Sri Chinmoy's style of devotion, yearning and aspiration for the Supreme had influenced me deeply, giving me the strength and necessary tools to re-commence my work.
What is a poet? I was once sitting at home when I received a letter, which had a most profound effect upon me. there and then I started composing a poem:
Said the devotee to his gurubhai.
The words echoing from his inner core,
While joyful secretions trickled down his cheeks.
Happy was he in the waves of gratitude
Suddenly taking hold of his heart.
O lord, immeasurable is Your beauty,
How diverse Thy ways of expressing it!
This moment: stillness, repose, and the next...
Flowing gladness, wondrous delight,
An awakening of psychic tears and thankfulness.
Brother gurubhai, appreciation for thy faith in Man.
Long lives thy soulful inspiration.
I smiled at the server,
Who lovingly handed me the drink.
The swami had just finished
A most stirring speech.
Musicians played hauntingly,
While the vocalist sang melodiously
To rapturous applause,
And the drumming of the tabla mesmerised the crowds.
Upstairs, where I now sit,
The aroma of palatable food and cheerful noises,
Permeate the soulful atmosphere.
Servers diligently seek to see
That all is fed and trays are taken away.
Tables are wiped clean,
While floors are swept.
All is buzzing with life.
Downstairs, the pungent smell
Of incense, still lingers on,
And the deities stand majestically
At their respective places.
The shoes racks swell with pride,
And the book tables quietly wait their turn
In this game of life.
Silently I sit, not moving, but
Marvelling at the intricate web and
Beauty of Truth's Creation.
Each part of the whole,
Playing his or her tune, and dancing with God.
Some of my most inspired works came as a direct result of experience in mediation. I have enclosed one below:
In the Presence of Thy Sanctity
As I sit down before Thy sacred shrine,
Your stillness-peace within I feel.
Grace points me to an inner thrill,
I know the effort is not mine.
Around me all is calm, serene,
Your spirit percolates my being.
Before I even think of Thee,
Thy bliss is flowing ever free.
Your love is sanctimonious, keen,
So selfless for a wretch like me,
When all I have done is enter in,
The presence of Thy sanctuary.
The point here is to show that the divine poet, whether he is conscious or not conscious of the Supreme, writes primarily from a Higher inspiration flowing through his soul, heart, mind, vital and finally fingers and pen in order to be dynamically used to an esoteric or psychic flow. This, Sri Chinmoy, with his direct inner vision, does infinitely better than I can, and so I would finish this writing with a poem of his which illustrates fully - in my view - the soul of the inspired poet as well as the poet with direct perception of life's inner transcendental beauty.
O light of the Supreme
O Beauty non-pareil, O Beloved,
Do burn the fire of beauty and splendour
Within my heart.
By loving You, eternally beautiful I shall be.
May Lord Shiva's destruction-dance
Destroy all shackles of the finite.
May the light of the Supreme inundate me,
My heart, my heart, my all.
Having loved the Infinite,
The heart of gloom is crying
For the bloom of Light
O life infinite, give me the eternal hunger
The tiniest drop will lose it's raison d'etre
In the heart of the boundless ocean.
In fire and air Your life of the Spirit I behold.
View: Poetry by Members of the Sri Chinmoy Centre