by Swami Krishnananda
The soul does try to rise to pristine
Which light is soul which is the being-all.
But soul that seeks exit for wide domain
Is held in check by chain of restraint’s grips
The sight, the sound, the touch and smell and taste
Which order action through the hands and speech
And feet and windows that behold their prey
As well the catch of hunger, thirst and cold
Which hard harass with tightened raging fists;
Lo, even breath that swallows air in gulps,
The mind that loves and reason ego’s flame
Do all like hounds threaten to tear the soul
Which ere believed the body as itself.
Much more than house, it was the soul’s essence.
So goes the fate of souls that search in vain
For freedom which the body’s love abhors.
To tame the wild impulses ego spurts
The pose of friend and goodwill sages teach,
No harshness Nature in its work deserves
For all creation Nature constitutes.
Who can with war the facts of Nature curb
Since all effort enfolded Nature holds
The one who battles with the urging calls
Forgets that these compounded form the man
Who cudgels raises ‘gainst his own being.
The wisest way to treat the torment’s cause
Is not the crushing deal on one’s own skin
But graded feeding for the fast to rise
As satisfaction with the consumed love
To then behold the beauty higher still.
By law-abiding blend of matter-mind
Come home, one’s food and love of progeny.
In early years till budding twenty-five
The frame is built by tough austerity.
Then comes the age of forward-pressing youth
Which seeks to run out from its filled-in store
By roaring gush to what it sees outside
As all-gayness and beauty in the world
Of male, female, of beast and plant and stone.
To sell itself in loss of itself, which
The dying self as moth in tongues of flame
Feels gain of life and all felicity.
To give wisdom to moth of blinded eyes
Is life prescribed as household discipline.
This grant of lease is for the joy restraint’s
And not permit to enter perdition.
The life in house of subject-object tie
Blazes the third which lies between the two
As soul of theirs while both as arms combine
To ignite spark which hidden therein sleeps.
In life ethic’s great role intuition plays
As artist brings the scattered pieces whole
To form a living, glorious beauty art’s.
Knowledge, perceptual or of concepts
Is meeting ground of subject and object.
The Truth is not the property of one,
Not even of another, or of both,
But transcending both in their union.
Ethics is not mathematics of soul,
Nor love a science of engineering.
The progress soul’s is soul-uniting’s work,
Not height physical bricks when laid up make.
The greatest souls who live divine morale
May look unwise or unmoral to crowds
Who stand on conventions and frames of steel
Which moral look when unseeing behold.
The inward calls defy outward mandates
When soul within the world of forms enshrines.
The inward truth is not propriety mob’s
The soul is not to barter with the shells.
The one that shines surpassing men of earth
Incurs their hatred, for he earth transcends
We honour leaders and our ablest guides
By crucifixion or an unkind cut.
So is the way the world has worshipped saints
And paid its debts to service they rendered.
The heroes who are sincere honestly
Make fools of themselves in the eyes of men.
Nonconformists did build this art of life,
Not moral masons who the stones well count.
Man is a soul and not machine or tool
Which do’s and don’ts can handle as a spade.
Personal problems are not general terms
Which moral worth decide by plebiscite.
Life, love and suffering are not earth’s formals
But rise from deeps that lie afar from time.
Each situation is a unique field
And does not stand comparison with mass.
No lowly work or toilsome drudgery
Or vilest passion can obstruct the soul
When motive Spirit’s is its driving spring.
Transcendence stressed to excess Godly life’s
Lends disrespect to immanence of God
In austerity harsh to mind and soul
Dwelling in form though wrongly arrested;
While utter sink in what is visible
Destroys Spirit for sake of body’s shape.
The profane and religious exist not,
For that which stands fitted to cosmic whole
Is holy and religious adored.
What struts about as independent stuff
Is what is dark and profane, evil called.
Varna and Asrama, the systems framed,
Collaboration in one’s outward life,
And progressive rise from matter to Self,
Sum up the rule of life in all levels.
The budding and the grown virility
In lads and lasses sprung in freshness morn’s
While seeking goals for which it does abound
Is anabolic, till its goal it finds.
Marriage is kin with ruling politic,
Since sans a system that restrains the greed
And impulsed passion of the stuff of man
The end-result would be the death of all.
Thus rules arise and laws societies make
For tantrum’s sake and local custom’s norm
On urges based that strong erupt in climes.
The local rules engendered by the hordes
Relate to stages and degrees of love
Which marks the cultures world-history proves.
Criminal laws that countries frame for them
Do indicate the height of culture reached.
Some kill the killer, some in hate exile;
Some close in bars. some flog the helpless frame,
Or maim the limbs in legal wrath unleashed.
Who on this earth is faultless rid from guilt
That stone can throw on kindred heart’s struggles
To freedom gain which soul in all does seek.
There is so much good in the worst of us.
And so much dirt in those the best of us,
That it does ill behove any of us
To cast aspersions on the rest of us.
Which act is there which one day well approved
Was not on other sorely got condemned?