Wednesday, 4 January 2012

SHIVA BALA YOGI: THE BADMASH CHRONICLES (Poems)


The Badmash
Chronicles

For
Shri Shri Shri Shivabalayogi Maharaj



These Poems about Shiva Bala Yogi and His presence in my life were written one after the other in the space of a week or so... appearing complete, in strange shapes and figures if you look closely. And then the inspiration simply vanished. Badmash is a colloquial word used by ShivaBalaYogi, it means scoundrel, fool... you get the drift. The Badmash in the poems is me. Enjoy! 


I
Where are the pundits? They have fled their seats
And the snaking line of bhaktas went over that hill.
The cooking mothers have abandoned their pots,
The garland makers are mad with joy.
No one is left, No one is here.
All are following You:
The great
Yogi.



II
You brought the rain
The true rain
The monsoon rain
And caught it
In Your
Hair.

Then
I knelt to drink
I cupped my hands
Over my shoulders went
Offerings, thanks, oblations, worship
As I drank in the rain, like a sadhu saved, rescued
In his desert mottled by the withering heat of the lost.



III
There You sit above my head
In astonishing dazzling light-smiling in-joy.
You are complete in Lordship, the Master in the Sahasra

Why now?
Why so long to wait?
Why did I miss your lila this time around?
These are such impossible questions
And my situation, too, is impossible
And my love for you is impossible
Shameful, ridiculous, unbecoming
Way too late,
Way over the top,
Way out of proportion.
Yes, all that is true
Says Badmash, all true.
I am a hopeless rascal playing with You
In the mula-worship sunshine state of seeing is believing
In the sway-headed close-eyed slow-fusing mercy moment morning.


IV
The three
The Seven
The Nine
The Eleven
All dance to
The beat of your fingers.

I should have seen this coming
Says Badmash.
But how was I to know
You had eaten the Palmyra fruit?







V
Beware! Beware! Beware young boy
Do not pick the fruit off the ground!
Do not split it open!
You will be bitten by snakes and rats
If you do!

Neighbours will burn you
They will beat you
You will nearly die of thirst!

You will know no earthly lover
Or the sound of your children’s feet on the floor
Of your earthen home.

You will no longer sell bidis
Or weave cloth.
You will make your mothers cry.

Stay away from the canal bank
Stay far away, young boy!
Run back to
The village of weavers.








VI
Others told tales of You
While You warned
“Be careful, I am like the diamond in the pocket.
I shall slip away if you are not careful.”

I came late to the camp ground
Only a few embers glowing here and there.
But I saw
The diamond on the ground.
They had left you behind!

So I stooped
To pick you
Up.

The only way
To contain You,
Says badmash
Is with my
cupped
hands.



VII
Some are in the business of business
And sell their life wherever they go.
Others want the pride of battle
To be victorious over and over again.
Still more want to Lord it over others
With beautiful silks and perfumes.
Then there are the show-offs
Pushing ahead in the line.
Lord,
So many fall and do not get up!

One
In ten thousand
Wants a pure heart.
One
In a million.
One
In ten million.
What does it matter?

Says badmash
I have been all these
Yet now I am empty of all names
But Yours.




VIII
The thief has robbed me of Hari
Stole him clear away.
Taken the temple bells, too.
Removed the brass fittings
Scattered the kum-kum
Nabbed the dhotis off the pujaris.

This thief
Has long matted hair
And a cobra or two.
Dangerous
Wanderer.

Even worse:
He has stolen
My heart.

How will I ever get it back?



IX
The fool plays the lottery
But he loses.
The husband adores his wife
But she grows old.
The prince of corporations
Has a heart attack.
The daughter of parties
Gets a hangover.
Asks badmash
“What makes sense
When the river flows so swiftly?”





X
Only so far
Will the ferryman
Take you.

Then
(It has always been this way)
We jump the waterfall
One by one.

My fate
Says badmash
was to be
Dashed
against
Your  
rocks.







XI
Thief!
Give my God back!
Where have You hidden His holy form?
Why have You stolen the food meant for him?
You made me shameless,
Thief!


XII
Five
inconstant        Leaves
they                 clustered
close                             Together
on                                a river
                                    And said
“We are one.”
                                                                          But of course
                                                                          They are not
                                                                                    Not at all.
                                                                                    They were
                                                                                    Blown
                                                                                    By the wind
                                                                                    So briefly
                                                                                 Together 
                                                                                And the   
                                                                        merest breeze
                                                will                  blow them
                                                  far                  far and far
                                                      apart once more as
                                                            winds do.


XIII
Guru
My body
Is made of
Delicate mantras
You showed me this
And my lines faded
One by one and
Winking out.
My shoulders carried the bag,
The badmash bag heavier than stone,
But it has gone now. You cut the cord.
How can I explain this to anyone but You?
And yet, being tongueless now, not even You.
I am with You, I am without You - it makes no
Sense. And it makes no difference. Mad Master!
I missed You when You were here and yet here
You are behind the body in the gold of the flower.
Thinner than any sigh. Without stain of noise or form.
Without the pride of life or death or any attainment or non-attainment.
Without the this, the that, the Thou, the art, the birth, the growth, the movement.
Buddha-body vast as blue, all-present glory-flag not this, not that, not not, not am.
Oh perfect Yogi, snake me throughout each part of my mantra-maze and bring me
To the still
Point of
OM.



XIV
In my bright morning
You walk on
Blue feet
By the lilies.

Each sparkling drop
Is a universe.

There is no bottom
To this lake.

Silence.

And still
The note
Resounds.




XV
The asuras were toppled
But back they come
Wielding maces
And barbed wire.

Badmash is ours,”
They yell in their arrogant rage.
“We will torment him
With beautiful women
And fill his stomach
With sweet poison!”

“I shall drink the poison,”
You reply.
And your throat is already blue
From a thousand, thousand
Cups of gall
You drink
For the love of your devotees.
Have we no heart?








XVI
He told me
“If you support dharma,
Dharma supports you.”
So I keep
Ringing that bell!


XVII
Fire-eaters have danced for Thee
Bhaktas have sung to Thee, by day and night
While the lights play on their faces.
Kings have served Thee,
As have fearless warriors with their spears
And bristling moustaches.

Mothers cook for Thee,
Courtesans dance for Thee.
Children weep for Thee,
Grandmothers embrace Thee.

Yet
King Ego
Refuses to
Bow
Low.

And
Slyly
Lays
His
Plots.






XIX
Three meet by the stream:
The Guru, the Scriptures, the disciple.
All three
Wave lights
To the
Light
In each other
As the water sings by.


XX
I think I can act like I used to before,
And leave the old hall by the side door,
Work half-time, sleep the rest,
Complain about lack of tenderness.

But it’s not the same, You catch up with me
Ask “Where are you going, if not with Me?”
I cannot reply, my mouth is stuffed full
With words from performances long before.

I try to escape You, I try to betray You
I try to dismiss You, and even to hate You.
But You are immovable, drawing me through
The difficult passage,
The one-pointed passage,
The Indweller’s palace,
From me on to You.


XXI
I cannot escape You.
Where would I hide?
Even in the dusty café
Of a truck-stop
At the rear end of my life
You tracked me down
And exacted the toll.
So I had to pay up.

And the savings went.
The double face and the restless eyes.
You took my clothes, too,
somewhere between dawn and dusk.
You pressed your thumb on my brow
and said:
Badmash, pay up!”


XXII



AWAKE
A Bright Brahmachari morning
The first strength of the Sun in the early hour
Before the fishermen, the chains of commerce
The arrival of the garland sellers
As I sit by the Mother Ganges
Because all rivers are Her and all are holy and sacred.

There on my asana
I recite the invocations
The garland of the Sandhya Vandanam
And cleanse my spirit
In joy and reverence
Which return to dance
On my tongue.

The kingfishers flash
From the river bank.

And all is special
All glowing with the light of
Love’s unfolding silence.
All is the intimate song
Of the intimate heart
All settled, all moving
All wrapped within and without of itself.

Which is Shakti? Which is Shiva?
And who really understands
Beyond he who is
Awake?


XXIII

My longing is the wound
The spear that pierced my side
How many times
How many years
Must I first remember,
then forget
Thee?

Sweet agony
Of separation.

In these inauspicious times
My seat in on mud
In the middle of a throughfare.
A mean street.
Never rest or quietness
Just mad people
Passing by
Jabbering.

Always disturbance
Moving on
Seeking quietness
In a world covered by
Asphalt.

Where art Thou?
Where?
My heart is sad
Always sad, never healed.

Come back to me
My sweetness
My life
My love.