The Gathasaptasati

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The Gathasaptasati

Postby Diane » Fri Oct 19, 2012 12:00 am

The Gathasaptasati, one of the earliest anthologies of Indian poetry to have survived, was compiled by a Satavahana king, perhaps Hala, around the second century CE. It is fair to assume, however, that some of its verses go back to an even earlier period, for the legendary king drew on an oral tradition that belonged to the megalithic culture of the Deccan in the first millennium BC.
From what I understand from the page on which I found it (?), ... -82-a.html , this is an excerpt from The Gathasaptasati, below. It's reminiscent of Rumi, and Leonard Cohen.

Beloved, I have wandered
deep and far in this landscape of myself.
I have waded out into the ocean of forgetfulness,
swallowed up at last in that sea of mystery,
and now I am washed ashore on the waves of your indulgence,
singing my little songs of remembrance.
Perhaps at night one of these tiny tunes may insinuate itself
into some neglected pocket of your wonder, and you will awaken
with a particular tear upon your cheek.
In that tear is everything I have come here for,
everything I am.
Everything is seeking. Always.
From the shore, can you stop the boat out on the sea?
That which seeks is that for which it is seeking.
Beyond these words, persist.
Unless we can get to the marrow,
we will leave this table dissatisfied.
The tear is a kind gift from you to yourself.
Who will welcome this ….. sublimity?

Many believe that putting their head into the lion's mouth
is somehow some kind of metaphor?
We have no choice here. Really!
We can't go forward. We can't go back.
Now, having pushed out from the safe shore of certainty
into the current of vivid life,
whichever way we turn,
we are confronted with the lies of what we know,
and the truth of what we don't.
For far too long we have left the book of our deepest yearning
to gather dust in the secret library of the heart.
Now that we have opened its cover, we find that
there is something love wants to do with us.
Who is willing to listen to Her soft whisper, so familiar, like
the evening chimes in some abandoned ruin of a temple,
the temple of our longing?
Can you hear Her now? Her tears,
Her calling?
The ever-present music just behind our thoughts
caresses these tears that have appeared upon our cheek,
but all we seem to want is to just go back to sleep.
All around us the unsettled snores of wry forgetfulness
rise in the cacophonous chaos of dreamy limbo.
You, who now open bright eyes in the midst of
this dream:
stay here with me for awhile, and
let your cares drop off like the rags they are.
In our nakedness, we can point like little children
at the beauty of this incomprehensible sunlight pouring through
our windows, weaving together the shadows and the light that
become our innocent imaginary stories --
these simple little tales of lost and found,
forgetting and remembering.
We can whisper all the questions the water asks the sea, and
listen for the answers sung in seashells, tides, and foam.
Songs love to be sung. Can you be the song
your soul wants to sing?
I am here to sing it with you.
Our yearning is not different.
We can remember our original voice.
It is the voice that has never been bound. Never been limited.
Never despaired at the fragility of what transpires
from life to death.
Never faltered, though the most delicate beauty seems to fall and rot.
The closer things approach nothingness,
the more exquisite they become.
Your exquisiteness makes me weep,
and now my tears roll across our cheek.
There is a gleaming, glistening in our eyes that only magnifies
our tenderness.
This magnificent tenderness is still so unfamiliar
to those who entertain preferences.
To those who would be strong and storm heaven's gates.
To those who believe.
We can relinquish such fantasies,
because we have felt Her Lips pressed against the vulnerable tissues
of our heart, and not resisted.
This is all we need to know, that knowing at last submits itself
to that which open-armed embraces the unknown,
and rests there, at home, at peace.
Beloved, here it is.
Here it always Is.
I love you!
Having taken that final step off
the cliff of myself
I knew not what to expect,
nor did it matter falling, floating
wingspread wide and swooning
in the LightHeart of transparent Being.

So much I am moved to sing, this song
I sing of Breath to Name --
Heart to beating Heart.
We are not less than
Everything, nor are we more than
Perhaps you are nodding now?
Have we ever been other than This?

I cannot find where you leave off and
I begin. I do not know
who speaks, who listens.

Was it always so?

Or have I always been alone,
drinking this water of solitude
within the sea of my own body?
This body that is our Body,
our watery life?

Are my tears this water I recycle,
perpetually? Heart pumping soul
through sockets of light?
Soul drenched in spirit water,
baptized in my own essence?

But when I look within,
there is no within!


Oh, do you know this?
Of course you understand!
When I look at these words my tongue stops.

Who says what?

Where was that cliff I stumbled off?
Are you there now,
Perhaps peering out into
this boundlessness,
the space between these
tender mysterious thoughts?

Who is willing to give up what is most
closely held -
this throbbing pulsing life?
This breath?
This hope?
This word?

What is the mysterious
impulse, the anciently encoded
memory that sweeps us to
this edge of ourself, that
teeters us on the brink of
sweet oblivion?

Dare we stare down into its depths,
its bottomless voice echoing
back up to us in
Nada Brahma syllables?
In heart-piercing slices of
long-forgotten ecstasies,
now exploding once again within the
limitless space of un-owned
silent illumination?

Oh what can be said now, here
in the fire of the luscious
bright flame welling up from toes to
tip of crown and on and on and on forever?

Oh Grace That brings us here!

Oh Grace That flings us into That
from whence there is no exit!

Oh Grace that is our destiny,
when all else drops away at last
as you step off with me.

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