In My Soul
there is a temple, a shrine, a mosque, a church
where I kneel.
Prayer should bring us to an altar where no walls
or names exist.
Is there not a region of love where the sovereignty
Where ecstasy gets poured into itself
where the wing is fully alive
but has no mind or
there is a temple, a shrine, a mosque
That dissolve, that
— Rabia al Basri (8th century Sufi poet and mystic)
Tree of Shelter
Driven by the storm of life I have come to Thee, Thou eternal Tree of Shelter! As I sit under Thy protecting boughs My storm-pressed heart sighs with relief. Thou hast given me my long-lost peace. -- Swami Paramananda (1884-1940)
[#] 36 (from Gitanjali)
This is my prayer to thee, my lord -- strike, strike at the root of penury in my heart. Give me the strength lightly to bear my joys and sorrows. Give me the strength to make my love fruitful in service. Give me the strength never to disown the poor or bend my knees before insolent might. Give me the strength to raise my mind high above daily trifles. And give me the strength to surrender my strength to thy will with love.
—Rabindranath Tagore (1861 – 1941)
No One Shall Hinder
None shall hinder thy forward course,
For I guide thy steps.
Place thy hand in Mine and walk with Faith.
Where I am there is no ill.
Fear not, but walk forward with faith.
Light will come;
For where’er I am there is light.
My touch will kindle hope in thy heart.
I shall reside in thy soul as peace.
My love will fill thee with bliss.
Fear not, but walk forward with faith.
My hand is thy safety.
—Swami Paramananda (1884-1940)
Glory be to God for dappled things— For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow; For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings; Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough; And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim. All things counter, original, spare, strange; Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim; He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: Praise Him
–Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844 – 1889)
O Thou, unasked, unceasing Giver
Thou hast given me Thy endless blessing,
Thou hast drawn me close to Thy heart,
Thy bounty runs through my life to overflowing.
Yea, tender Lord, by Thy magic charm
Thou hast driven away my past wretchedness.
Can we with all our might, offer Thee aught worthy in
Thy blessed sight?
Can we ever make our heart so free of earthly stain that
Thy light of love may shine and glow unceasingly?
Thou art ever merciful to the lowly;
We bring Thee our humble hearts.
No merit have we save our faith in
Thine infinite compassion.
Do Thou make of us Thy tools that at all hours,
in work and play
We may revolve in Thy safe-keeping.
–Swami Paramananda (1884 – 1940)
Present With You
I have not come to Your door
to ask for joy or happiness
I do not ask to be bathed
in Light or immersed in bliss
I am not asking that anything in my life
or in the universe be changed
I come asking that You allow me
just to be present with You
In this moment, if only for a moment
Let me be present only with You
— Gordon Burnham
Within This Earthen Vessel
Within this earthen vessel are bowers and groves,
and within it is the Creator:
Within this vessel are the seven oceans
and the unnumbered stars.
The touchstone and the jewel-appraiser are within;
and within this vessel the Eternal soundeth,
and the spring wells up.
‘Listen to me, my Friend!
My beloved Lord is within.’
— Kabir (15th century poet and mystic)
I watch over
The spring night
But no amount of guarding
Is enough to make it stay.
–Izumi Shikibu (974 – 1034)
Only God I Saw
In the market, in the cloister - only God I saw. In the valley and on the mountain - only God I saw. Him I have seen beside me oft in tribulation; In favor and in fortune - only God I saw. In prayer and fasting, in praise and contemplation, In the religion of the Prophet - only God I saw. Neither soul nor body, accident nor substance, Qualities nor causes - only God I saw. I opened mine eyes and by the light of His face around me In all the eye discovered - only God I saw. Like a candle I was melting in His fire: Amidst the flames out flashing - only God I saw. Myself with mine own eyes I saw most clearly, But when I looked with God's eyes - only God I saw. I passed away into nothingness, I vanished, And lo, I was the All-living - only God I saw. - Baba Kuhi of Shiraz (10th-11th cent. Sufi mystic and poet)