Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Mahadevi - O Lord, White as Jasmine!

Locks of shining red hair, a crown of diamonds, 
small beautiful teeth and eyes in a laughing face 
that light up fourteen worlds
—I saw His glory, and seeing, I quell today the famine in my eyes.

I saw the haughty Master for whom men, all men, are but women, wives. 
I saw the Great One who plays at love with Shakti, original to the world. 
I saw His stance and began to live.

The bee that was engaged all along in drinking the nectar 
from the White Jasmine is consumed totally in that very process. 
Not even the Symbol remains!

You are the forest; You are all the great trees in the forest; 
You are bird and beast playing in and out of the trees. 
O Lord White as Jasmine filling and filled by all, 
why don’t You show me Your face?

When I didn’t know myself, where were You? 
Like the color in the gold, You were in me. 
I saw in You, Lord White as Jasmine, 
the paradox of Your being in me without showing a limb.

People, male and female, blush when a cloth covering their shame comes loose.
 When the Lord of lives drowned without a face in the world, 
how can you be modest? 
When all the world is the eye of the Lord, onlooking everywhere, 
what can you cover and conceal?

It was like a stream running into the dry bed of a lake, 
like rain pouring on plants parched to sticks. 
It was like this world’s pleasure and the way to the other, 
both walking towards me. 
Seeing the feet of the master, O Lord White as Jasmine, I was made worthwhile.

Listen, sister, listen. I had a dream. 
I saw rice, betel, palm leaf and coconut. 
I saw an ascetic come to beg, white teeth and small matted curls. 
I followed on his heels and held his hand, 
He who goes breaking all bounds and beyond. 
I saw the Lord, White as Jasmine, and woke wide open.
 Sunlight made visible the whole length of a sky, 
movement of wind, leaf, flower, all six colors on tree, bush and creeper: 
all this is the day’s worship. 
The light of moon, star and fire, lightnings and all things 
that go by the name of light are the night’s worship. 
Night and day in your worship. 
I forget myself, O Lord White as Jasmine.

excerpted from the book Speaking of Siva,  
translated by A. K. Ramanujan

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