Separation

Chapter One

by Mrinali Christine Clarke

This dissertation was
originally submitted to fulfil
the BA (Honours) requirements
at Monash University,
Victoria, Australia, 1989.

 

In the Introduction we defined the Quest in general terms as a journey of life for the spiritual seeker towards the goal of God-realisation. To further assist us in our understanding of this concept, we divided it into three parts — namely Separation, Trial and Return. In this chapter we explore the first part of the Quest, the theme of Separation, through the poetry of Sri Chinmoy using the following motifs which interweave and overlap throughout the writings.
 

Separation:
                           • Evolution of the soul
                           • Oneness with the Absolute before incarnation
                           • The Quest begins
                           • Loss of oneness
                           • Descent into ignorance/loneliness
 

In looking at a selection of poetry by Sri Chinmoy, loosely grouped here under the heading of Separation, we first encounter poems that concentrate on the soul’s evolution from the animal kingdom into the human world. In the teachings of Sri Chinmoy, it is not only the physical that evolves, but also the soul that is in evolution. The soul as a portion of the Supreme Being manifests itself in the physical world. The inconscience of the dense physical plane then intervenes to blanket the soul’s actual union with the Divine — the Oneness before birth is forgotten, the Quest then begins and so the ‘Divine Lila’ plays itself out over millennia.

The first two poems sweep back through past aeons of the evolution of the human consciousness from the animal, and so are pre-separation in theme. They attempt to infer a time that is prior to consciousness itself. This is a world of unthinking, wild and instantaneous gratification; the rhythmical physiological impulse of organic life. They look back to that past as a time of great slumber, the sleep of unawakened consciousness. Nevertheless, they also look forward to a future, a time of the awakened divinity in humanity.

PULSE OF THE PAST

O pulse of the past, I do not need you
To found my reality on earth.

O pulse of the past,
My future dreams
Are growing fast
In my today’s reality.

O pulse of the past,
My animal past
Was my destruction-night;
My human past
Was my future dream;
My divine past
Has become one with the immediacy of today.15

This poem uses the simple format of repetition, with a softening alliteration; the pairing of ‘pulse’ and ‘past’ giving both a mantric quality and rhetorical tone, as well as affirming a rhythmic pace through the piece. The image of the pulse emphasises this rhythmic march of evolution. It infers the scope of aeons, while the rhetorical tone imparts a ringing emphasis to the opening emphatic denial of any obligation or restrictions by previous realities. The second stanza softens and opens out the theme with the word ‘dreams’ and the rhyming of past/fast. Past, present and future are linked as one continuum, but it is not until the last stanza that we understand in what manner.

The poem is dealing with an evolutionary scale of being — a vast canvass — and speaking from the consciousness of the eternally evolving soul. The animal past is acknowledged but cast off as a destructive phase, the compound noun evoking more a sense of the Dark Age of the soul. Surprisingly, the contrasting parallel is drawn with ‘my human past’ as something already outgrown or outdated. This ‘future dream’ indicates the paradoxical perspective of the mystic who sees from the highest perspective the aspiration of humanity to leave its restrictions behind for an ever more perfect vision. The odd syntactical formulations, however, point to the future dream as already being realised, the growth through the human phase, into the phase of the divine growth of the soul. The last two lines reveal a further parallel, prefiguring the endlessness of the evolutionary process after the realisation of the divine phase: the immediacy of today instigates new incentives. The movement of the poem from past to present and future imperatives offers the message of transcendence through the idea of evolution, an epic significance often surprising to discover in such short lyrics.

THE STORY OF MY COMMON SENSE

When my common sense
Was fast asleep,
I lived in the animal kingdom.
I felt and filled my hungry abyss.
When I surrendered
My common sense to my Inner Pilot,
Peace-sea, sun-world, love-heaven
At long last
Discovered their permanence
In my God-hunger supreme.16

The poetic quality of this verse is simply manifested by the arrangement of lines, and the development of a musical quality by soft echoes and alliteration. Again, the progression of ideas from unconsciousness and more primitive satisfactions of the animal world to the permanence of the higher goal, the longing for the divine, illustrates the epic dimension of the individual soul’s evolution. Here we witness the marriage of ideas in the compound noun, used to suggest qualities or experiences of the inner life and awakening consciousness. Any banality of the terms used is banished by the strength of the newly formed conceptual imagery, particularly noticeable if the poem is read aloud. Enunciated clearly it slows the pace of the poem and creates an immediate experience like an invocation: the peace that permeates inwardly, the world illumined, and the haven of a love free of human ties. Although childlike in their simplicity, these messages form the clarity of a deeper and purer vision, an inner existence that is at home in the meditative state of consciousness.

After looking back to the sleep of the unawakened consciousness, the poem explores the possibilities of the human, and sees that it is only when surrender comes to the awareness within, to the evolved soul, or what Sri Chinmoy calls the ‘Inner Pilot’, that real self-consciousness is possible — and this is inextricably linked to the ‘God-hunger supreme’. Mankind’s relationship with the Supreme Being is never portrayed as subservient or manipulative, the discovery is of an inner yearning, an incompletion of the self, the natural progression of the appetite for God-knowledge, so that God is both the goal and the satisfaction of a need.

Two further characteristics prominent in the tone of the poetry of Sri Chinmoy are the profoundly authoritative nature that is evinced by prophetic statements and themes, set against the intimate mood of revelation or personal confidences given. This is evident in a further example of a poem touching on the evolutionary theme. What appears to be a childlike dramatisation occurs because of the sonic simplicity of language and tone. Short words, brief and simple statements, and the use of anaphora, as well as the resonances of the Christ, all impart a kind of biblical reverberation.

WHY MEN CRY

I tell you in supreme secrecy,
God will become a man,
God will cry like a man.
God will become a man
To see what man needs most.
God will cry like a man
To see why men cry.17

The strength of the repetition and rhetorical accents is reinforced by the image played around God’s Will. The poem is a poignant notation on the lack of knowledge between the two perspectives, the human and the divine, portrayed without moral tone, but presented in the light of God’s boundless compassion, love and concern for humanity. It places this prophetic incarnation of the Supreme Consciousness in an empathetic rather than a judgemental context. The simplicity of the language masks an interesting intersection of truth and ignorance, need and fulfilment, intimacy and authority. The repetition serves to impart a reassuring tone in defiance of the modern propensity for alienation and scepticism from the divine.

Further background on the imperative for the quest can now be finely discerned in the following three poems:

UNRECOGNISED

Humanity is divinity
Yet unrecognised.
Divinity is reality
Yet unrecognised.
Reality is totality
Yet unrecognised.18

This poem, presented in a triple-tiered epigrammatic form, displays a semantic and ideational symmetry. Sri Chinmoy commonly uses this form, which serves to give equal weight to each concept in the statement, while providing a hierarchy of ideas impossible to resist. The equal number of syllables in each rhyming pair, and the intensifying prophetic interjection emphasises the weight of each philosophic deliberation. Again, the childlike neatness of the equations evokes that transparent simplification and clarity of thought which defies the grandeur of the conceptual analysis — an analysis which almost threatens to slip out of cognitive reach at the last, as one slides through the hierarchical scale of definitions. The rhetorical tone at the close adds to the quite solemn coercion toward this universal view.

This kind of ambiguity, or merging of identity, occurs also in the following, which illustrates the interdependency of the quest for both the human, and the divine fulfilment.

MY HEART BECAME GOD

My heart became God
Out of pure necessity.
My mind became man
Out of sheer curiosity.19

The simplicity of the statements and the parallel images defies the complex paradox of God-becoming and man-incarnating as one entity. The image of the heart paired with God, and its motivation ‘pure necessity’, suggest God’s own reliance on human progress, while the mind, paired with man, and the equally weighed motivation ‘sheer curiosity’ emphasise the inherent human quality, as well as completing the dizzying circular movement of the soul’s evolution in one form. We are compelled to identify with this speaker, from perhaps an even higher perspective than both man and God — from the imperative of evolution itself.

This brief glance at some background ideas in the poet’s work gives some understanding of how his vision reconciles these notions of creation, and evolution. Having some understanding of this, it is interesting to go on to the next step, the beginning of the Quest on earth. The following poems illustrate the decision to leave the Oneness-existence, the unity of reality, and take incarnation. All these examples demonstrate the often-mantric quality of the style of Sri Chinmoy.

I CAME

Into the world of beauty’s flame,
Into the world of offering’s game,
Into the world of lustre-flood,
I came, I came, my existence came.20

This example illustrates the highly figurative language and unique stance of the speaker looking back on his own birth. These lofty metaphoric descriptions of the world surprise us and serve to retain nuances evocative of a different, higher level of conscious awareness. The compound nouns impart the perspective of ephemerality belonging to the manifestation of the Supreme in the physical world, but also transform our view of the solid world that we know into something wondrous. ‘Beauty’s-flame’, a vital and dynamic image of beauty, also evokes the essence of purity; ‘offering’s game’ indicates the game of life entered into for the dedicated and self-offering it is to God the Creator — a sacrifice itself. And again, ‘lustre-flood’, a much more intense and heightened vision of teeming life on earth, containing the reference to ‘Light’, a further dimension of the divine spirit which moves therein, and creating an impression of a shimmering oneness of consciousness underlying physical reality.

Musically, the tone of this poem has a descending quality, emphasised by the slowing repetition of the final line, which mimics a descent from above. This last line also demonstrates a quiet power, an inevitability in the tone. It alludes to the progress of humanity through the evolution of the soul — ‘my existence came’ — as though the persona is larger, the sum of past experiences, as well as future potentialities.

The seeming stylistic simplicity of Sri Chinmoy’s lyrics, coupled with the expansiveness of themes is demonstrated further in the next two examples of the beginning of The Quest. Spatial and temporal dimensions are suspended in a moment’s contemplation on the threshold of the quest for self.

THE FOREST OF MY HEART

I shall now call myself;
I shall now call.
In the forest of my heart, seeing myself,
I shall love myself and love myself.
I shall be my own quest,
My absolute wealth.
The journey of light supreme will commence
In the heart of freedom.21

In contrast to the commanding tone of I Came, this poem has that self-amorous tone reminiscent of much mystical and devotional poetry, both the tone and purpose illustrating an intensely private note of longing. The mood is softened again by a repetition, which brings a lilting rhythm. The first line repeated, which drops the last word, acquires a note of poignant tenderness or hesitancy. The repetition of the words ‘call’ and ‘myself’, coupled with the natural caesuras and pauses at line endings produce an ebb and flow reminiscent of the action of calling itself. The image of the heart as the path for the journey both reinforces the tenderness as well as emphasising the inner journey, the surrender of all outer concerns, outer wealth. This journey, and the method of travel, is of an inner exploration, through love.

Again, the unknown nature of this inner quest is represented tentatively by the use of ‘forest of my heart’, alluding to the singular, perhaps even untamed and dangerous nature of such an inner journey, and contrasts with the last line, the ‘heart of freedom’. There is harmony and an almost musical unity, although there are also slight tensions between the resolution in the statement “I shall be my own quest” and the sweeter tenderness for the undertaking of this self for enlightenment. The voice of the author reverting to the universal, entices us to follow the light, to find our own heart of freedom.

It becomes increasingly evident that a major force within the poetry of Sri Chinmoy is metaphor, but a particular kind of metaphor. The following two poems demonstrate the different metaphoric levels in Sri Chinmoy’s style. Both illustrate a consciousness fully aware of the lack of innocence in the world, which invokes the inner teaching of the Supreme through ‘silence’.

IN THE UNIVERSAL HEART

In the universal heart all hearts are one,
inseparable, I know.
Yet knowing this I hurt the hearts of others
day and night.
We are all the slaves of fate;
It dances on our foreheads.
In peace sublime is the extinction-sleep of fate.
I know this secret.
O Jewel of my eye, pour into my heart
Your golden Silence.22

Here the poet is demonstrating that knowledge alone is not enough for humanity; knowledge of the inseparable oneness portrayed by the image of humanity’s heart moving as a unified force. The plaintive cry against the inevitability of human error underlies all human fate. This inevitability is arrested with the line “In peace sublime is the extinction-sleep of fate.” If we consider the syntactical arrangement and the alliteration, which break the pace here, we find a seduction in their slowed and prolonged sounds — a way out of the traps of life, ‘the slaves of fate’.

The sonority intimates that this peace is something solid, itself producing the demise of fate and ‘extinction-sleep’ is not a violent, self-destruction image but a definite eclipse or escape, a transformation of this inevitable force. The contemplative mood is often broken in the last two lines as it is here by an invocation of a rhetorical nature. Moreover, there is an intricate metaphorical complexity in ‘Jewel of my Eye’, as the intimate appellation referring to the Supreme as the Inner Guide, or the soul, which is to be found shining in the eyes, or the force resident in the ‘third eye’ of the divine seeker. The use of the word ‘pour’ lends a tangible reality to this succour, a molten quality to ‘Silence’ reinforced by the adjective ‘golden’, and altogether suggesting something both precious and solid over the emptiness usually associated with the word. It works very effectively as a mystical metaphor. The speaker is affirming, as he will over and again, that all of human care is obliterated only in the silence of meditation.

The theme of silence is again taken up in the following:

CHILD OF LIGHT

Yonder I hear in the depth of my heart
Your nectar-silence.
There shall be no problems,
No complications in my life anymore.
From now on I shall be the child of light
In the ocean of life,
And there my little boat is sailing,
Sailing with enormous delight.
My life is the game of hundreds of waves
In the great ocean of life.23

The compound noun ‘nectar-silence’ is a key concept here, denoting the profound presence of the divine, but also something a little out of reach of human sensibility — perhaps a little unexpected — that the Supreme is both an intimate presence, and a little out of reach — ‘yonder’. In contrast to the previous poem, there is a moderating force in the tempo, rhythm and mood. The speaker is turning away from the world with its tentacles. The exhortation has been answered, the first step taken, though the wistfulness in that first recognition yonder demonstrates a vibration rather than a peal, underlined by the broken rhythm and half rhyme. Again the idea of ‘nectar-silence’ suggests a nourishing, a sweetness and substance; it invites comparison with the idea of nectar as the food of the Gods, with which perhaps the Supreme is tempting the speaker.

The tone develops with more confidence as the speaker takes up the theme of enlightenment — the inspired ‘child of light’. And the metaphor of the ocean of life is extended; this single life as a boat sailing over the vastness of life, but with a newfound abandon and surrender. The use of the word ‘delight’ transforms the old idea of a sea of troubles into something higher, a game of infinite varieties. There is a childlike evocation — an enjoyment of the play in the lyrical expression, it is a momentary illumination: life as a joyful challenge instead of a battle. In spite of the commonplace and the simplicity of expression, the poet’s attitude here lifts the metaphorical level into the realm of the heart so that the reader identifies with the universal feeling of the poem. So far the poems chosen have displayed an almost unconscious awareness of the quest within, whereas the fourth step in the Separation sequence, — the awareness of the loss of oneness — exposes a more mature seeking, and this sophistication is characterised by the mind’s limitations in view; a perspective here as reminiscent of ‘the Fall’. In the following three examples, the loss of Oneness with God can be seen to develop into the idea of the loss of the real Self.

HIDE AND SEEK

It seems that I have lost something somewhere.
My eyes are pining for it,
My heart is pining for it,
But it is all hidden.
From time immemorial
You have been playing hide and seek with me.
This much I can recollect, that’s all.24

Here, the key theme of loss is instantly universalised, the loss is so significant and so deep that even the eyes are pining, and something deep within the reader’s self responds with recognition and heartfelt sympathy. This blindness suggests the helplessness of the newborn, or human ignorance that is not even sure for what it seeks. The very soul is in darkness here, as the eyes are often invoked as the windows of the soul. There is a childlike vulnerability set against the mischievous, even cruel image of the Creator — deliberately hiding all — the sense of his playing a game with human beings over the millennia of creation. The final lines impart a feeling almost of despondency at the confusion of recollecting so little, at such reckless detachment on behalf of the benevolent One.

The rhetorical invocation in this next poem diminishes the vastness of distances in time to contrast with the present of the speaker, and is juxtaposed with the distance in spatial dimensions caused by the separation.

ONLY THE OTHER DAY

O Lord Supreme, only the other day
I saw You and played with You,
Before I came into the world of ignorance-night.
Yet I remember my golden past within and
without,
Alas, far, very far, now You are.
The bird of my heart is crying and trembling
with darkest pangs.25

A mystical framework is provided here by the nature of a unified golden past — an existence that alludes to a childlike nature of the Supreme playing perhaps in Elysian fields with the speaker. The poet often uses the motif of the world as the experience of ‘ignorance-night’ for the soul, a dark experience in comparison with this gold of the other world, which again places the poem in the epic context for the human journey. The plaintive quality evident in the last few lines — ‘very far, now You are’ — and the brokenly punctuated and reversed syntax gives a faltering, uncertain tone. The final metaphorical trope, ‘bird of my heart’, the expression the poet uses to denote the inner aspiration, the soul, here also infers the fragility of the inner life as well as its intense suffering being separated in this physical world. Yet it also contains the suggestion of its albeit thwarted capacity to soar above all. The stark image of the vulnerability of the soul as a bird, is made all the more poignant with the ringing tone and rhyme in the line ‘crying and trembling’, emphasising not only inner pain, but ‘darkest pangs’ of loss and suffering, a physical impression.

LABYRINTH

A torturous road full of thorns;
At every step I encounter dire obstacles.
No light, no air, only a black shadow
before me.
With a giant body he frightens me.
Alone I walk along an unlit, lightless
labyrinth.
Long have I forgotten where my source is.26

The symbolic image of this lament indicates the psychological dramatisation of the inner voyage and the blindness of the inner spiritual quest. This inner way is strewn with difficulties described metaphorically as material obstacles. ‘No light, no air’ creates an aura of suffocation, and the personification of a black shadow with a giant body evokes a real primal fear. The image of the shadow reinforces the idea of the psychological nature of the obstacles and that resistance to the light is in the physical mind. The alliteration and hard consonantal half rhymes in the last two lines firstly ring with the echo of footsteps as if on stone, then fade away with the image of a wanderer, completely separated and alienated. The innocence of the speaker is highlighted by the alarm of the imagery and the intensity of the mood created by the use of the sinister in the words ‘alone’, ‘shadow’, ‘giant’, and ‘labyrinth’. The distinction of the terms ‘unlit, lightless’, is quite significant here, referring to both the outer pathway being unlit, and the inner — the lack of inspirational or spiritual enlightenment.

The poet has shown this descent into ignorance, the danger of the human being forgetting where the source of light, of air, of comfort lies in human endeavour. This journey of the soul from human birth into the unlit physical plane of existence after separation from the divine light can be endless and touches on the theme of reincarnation. The following group of poems further illustrates this descent into loneliness and ignorance on the physical plane of existence. The use of short lyrics encapsulates a momentary idea or contemplation with an economy of language and imagery allowing the state of separation in the consciousness of the speaker to predominate.

TO SEE THE LIGHT

To see the light
A tiny blade of grass
Remains wide awake all night.
To see the light
The buds offer their devoted eagerness.
Alas, neither a blade of grass nor the buds
Can awaken my aspiration-flame.
I sleep and sleep,
My ears tightly closed.27

Here a conceit is used to highlight the speaker’s complete lack of inspiration to move toward the light. The lowly blade of grass and the buds are personified and endowed with a natural aspiration and yearning, in contrast to the speaker’s own predicament. In the opening image, the key word ‘light’ is operating on two levels, infusing the simple, life-sustaining necessity of the grass with patient humility and the eagerness of a seeker of enlightenment; and the buds with the spiritual quality of devotion. The second half of the lyric presents a complementary and contrasting image — the speaker locked into himself and, with finality, eyes and ears ‘tightly closed’, as if he were the bud, existing almost stubbornly only in his potentiality, forever without the energising and illumining light. The poetic quality is in the aesthetic form: the two images fitting closely together illustrate the complete opposite of what should be — the absent human aspiration versus even the instinctive nature of plants to respond to the spiritual allure of light. The compound noun ‘aspiration-flame’ challenges the notion of passive receptivity of enlightenment, instead highlighting it to be a conscious, and dynamic experience of fire reaching upward. But the prevailing image is that of the seeker’s worth — as less even than a single blade of grass to awaken to this upward movement.

This recalls Walt Whitman, of course, who uses this conceit, the innate humility of grass, in his Leaves of Grass28, and extends it into a symbol to explore both the multiplicity and the oneness or unity of the world around him.

Divine am I inside and out, and I make holy whatever I
touch …
If I worship any particular thing it shall be some of the
Spread of my body.
29

D.H. Lawrence has noted the tendency of Whitman’s poetry to explore identification, which I differentiate from the Oneness that Sri Chinmoy comprehends; yet Whitman does take the open road of experience, ‘the soul in her subtle sympathies accomplishing herself by the way.30’ This view of the soul journeying towards accomplishment does coincide with the themes of Sri Chinmoy, however it does not go quite so far.

I visit the enclaves of God and look at the spheric product
I look at quintillions ripened, and look at quintillions
Green.
31

Somehow these lines describe only the observer, a visitor to the realm of God, conveying a detachment far removed from the intimacy that Sri Chinmoy anticipates in the relationship.

The theme of the following final poems to illustrate the Separation is that of the difficulty in reconciling the material world in all its suffering with the perfection inherent in the divine. The treatment of this theme by Sri Chinmoy makes an interesting comparison with that of Snyder’s ‘confrontation’ within his poetic exploration of experiences in India.

THE WATERS OF PEACE

In how many ways You have sung
The song of liberation in my heart.
In return You have received only
unbearable pain.
I see all around me the heavy load of poverty
And the slumber of inconscience.
How can I lose myself in the waters of peace?32

The dramatisation here is infused by both an apostrophe and a rhetorical question addressed to the Supreme, and the plaintive quality of the first lines underlies the pain of the divine, as well as the seeker, due to his inability to respond to the ‘song of liberation’. The seeker is caught in the ignorance of the human point of view, immobilising poverty; an attitude only acknowledged by the human, where the poverty becomes a heavy load for the conscience because it is bereft of the spiritual light or illumination. The ‘slumber of inconscience’ evokes a world unwilling to wake or to respond to the Supreme’s song of liberation. The rhetorical question in the final line leaves us with a slightly ambivalent attitude, the waters of peace being both a plea for this as a resting place, a self-reprimand, or perhaps an accusation flung at the Supreme, depending upon the force and tone used in voicing it.

IN THE WILD CONFUSION-MARKET

Suddenly he slipped away
From home
To embrace the life of solitude
And see the Face of God.
He saw God.
Where?
In the wild confusion-market
Of village-ignorance.33

This poem illustrates the coexistence of both God and ignorance in the world, through a revelation. ‘Suddenly’ supports the immediacy of the image, and the significance of the simple situation is to contrast the two paths of spirituality. The easy flow of alliteration in the first half corresponds to the easy path — the ‘life of solitude’ — turning away from teeming humanity to find God, while the more difficult conceptual imagery of the compound nouns illustrates that this very complexity is precisely where God is to be found. The revelation is that God has to be found in all life, in all contexts — the transcendental concept is affirmed.

SALVATION

If you think of sin,
Then you need salvation.
If you think of ignorance,
Then you need liberation.
If you think of oneness,
Then you need God-realisation, Self-realisation.34

Here again the tiered structure of parallel concepts presents the three different world views of examining ‘human error’ or ‘frailty’ as problem and solution. Firstly, the traditional Western religious view with its allusion to sin, shown now in its modern context becomes slightly distasteful, negative and old fashioned. By contrast, the Eastern mystical view of liberation from ignorance, while it represents a much more palatable interpretation, is still only a middle-step on the ladder. Then there is a significant change of key, a shift of emphasis in the final view as the poet/Master presents his own solution, a path which reconciles or even transcends the former two, that of the Oneness of all existence, which surpasses human moral dichotomies. ‘Oneness’ transcends the problematic approaches, the assertion and solution are one and the same. Again there is a challenge to the reader that cannot be ignored because of the rhetorical structure of the poem, which once more channels the response back into the heart’s contemplation of an aesthetically pleasing intuition — to rise above the lower levels for the higher aim of oneness. The reader can hardly resist the exhortation, claiming as his very own the poet’s philosophy of the one source and Goal of all humanity, in a way that supersedes the past irreconcilables of religion.

In contrast with the ideas of Sri Chinmoy, Gary Snyder viewed his encounter with India as a ‘Dantean journey into the underworld’ and, according to Steuding, interpreted Mother Kali as a demonic, negative force.35 He suffers a ‘shock of recognition’ in India’s philosophy and mythology, as ‘vast, touching the deepest areas of the mind’,36 but succumbs to the despair of the poverty and the crush of humanity. His poem entitled:

MOTHER OF THE BUDDHAS, QUEEN OF HEAVEN,
MOTHER OF THE SUN; MARICI,
GODDESS OF THE DAWN,

Opens with:

old sow in the mud
bristles caked black
down her powerful neck

tiny hooves churn
squat body slithering
deep in food dirt

And ends with:

she turns her small eye
from earth to
look up at me
37

Sri Chinmoy explains his point of view thus: “If we go deeper into ignorance we see it is all a play of inconscience … To enter into ignorance is to take a negative path. The best way, the positive way is to follow the path of light. Enter into illumination first.”38

In this section, we have seen how the simple style of the lyrics of Sri Chinmoy masks a quite complex and consummate poetic skill. The free verse and the cryptic tendencies of the language, often utilising the techniques of rhetoric and coupled with the mantric mode of speech, give the diction a most unusual quality of authority. Together with the use of both linguistic and ideational parallels and equivalences, sometimes tier upon tier, the poetry has a symmetrical precision, which adds authoritative weight to the revelatory nature of the subject matter. In other cases, the verse can be looser, relying on a more contemplative mood or tone for poetic effect. Although I have imposed the complex schemata of The Ever-Transcending Quest on the poet’s work, I hope it will become clearer as we explore the next chapter — Trial — that this is a valid inroad to the understanding of such a vast body of work that expands our understanding of both spiritual themes and the human spiritual journey.
 

Read Chapter Two ...
 

Endnotes:
15 Sri Chinmoy, Selections from The Golden Boat, p. 43.
16 Sri Chinmoy, The Dance of Life, Vol. 1, p. 18.
17 Sri Chinmoy, When God-Love Descends, p. 42.
18 Sri Chinmoy, Lord, Receive This Little Undying Cry, p. 44.
19 Sri Chinmoy, Lord, I Ask You For One Favour, p. 44.
20 Sri Chinmoy, My Flute, p. 36.
21 J.M. & H. Roberts, (Eds), Selected Poetry of Sri Chinmoy, p. 9.
22 Ibid. p. 2.
23 Ibid. p. 10.
24 Ibid. p. 36.
25 Sri Chinmoy, My Flute, p. 59.
26 J.M. and H. Roberts, op. cit. p. 25.
27 Ibid. p. 11.
28 Justin Kaplan (Ed), Walt Whitman, Complete Poetry and Selected Prose, p. 19.
29 Ibid. p. 51.
30 D.H. Lawrence, Studies in Classic American Literature, p. 173ff.
31 Kaplan, op. cit. p. 63.
32 J.M. and H. Roberts, op. cit. p. 12.
33 Sri Chinmoy, Lord, Receive This Little Undying Cry, p. 103.
34 Ibid. p. 90.
35 Bob Steuding, Gary Snyder, p. 123.
36 Gary Snyder, Earth House Hold, p. 114.
37 Gary Snyder, The Black Country, p. 92.
38 Sri Chinmoy, Samadhi and Siddhi, Introduction.

 

Copyright © 2013 Mrinali Clarke. All rights reserved.