Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Nor Hands Incarnadine

I still have two books to complete. The first is the Vishvarupa, which has yet to be printed, but which is otherwise finished. The second is the Bhagavad Gita Interpreted, which I edited and for which I provide an extensive introduction. The Vishvarupa, and their immediately preceding books, the Ramlila and the Rasa Lila, are the last of my original works.

While I expect to continue editing works, much as I did with the Rose Garden of Sa'di, I believe that the period of original works, which began nearly 25 years ago, is over. The works that I produced during that period are concluded. Once emptied, the cup is overturned. So empty is that cup that I must borrow words I wrote years ago, knowing this time was drawing nearer:

O friend, I have composed these books for you. My subjects come before you, to honor you, and to give advice in its place. But if you would be guided you would know that these are not the best of books. They are the least of them. If you read these works yet understand only these few words, you will put my books aside and take up another's. Then you will have heeded my advice and this gift will have served some good purpose.

Why do you draw from your quiver the crooked arrow?
Toss it away and take up the straight!

Be satisfied with the work of Rumi or Attar instead. In verse and prose they might bring you nearer your goal; they offer rest and comfort and solace to the weary. 

To Rumi’s tales a wiser man refers,
To Attar’s skillful verses he defers.
Though envious of them, I cannot claim,
Their finer bow, their arrow, or their aim.

These two surpass me, but if they are not to your liking, turn instead toward the bounty of Abha, risen in your midst if you but looked. From Him you will find sure footing on this ruined road, and clear vision through a fog of doubts.

For my part the season has ended, and the fruits were long ago gathered up. Upon that field the sun has set; in that effort the work is done, the foundation built and I offer no further service. Recall the words of Sa‘di.

If it should not touch anyone’s ear of desire,
The messenger told his tale; it is enough.

After doubting the angel, Zechariah could not speak. For nine months his tongue was locked; silence from that sage was His sign, for what tongue can move without His leave? I can say nothing more.

Whoever speaks when his speech is done, 
Burns the very bread of his motives,
And bleaches the shirt of meaning to tatters.

As for the books you'll find here, I take leave of them, these dear companions, the best of this orchard.

These fruits won't fall; they'll ripen on the vine,
Nor ever rot, nor hands incarnadine.

Ya Bahá’u’l-Abhá

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Ghost of John Donne

Have you heard,
How I fell in love once,
With a girl in my ancient youth?

But is she true to our memory,
In heaven's embrace?

Does she speak fondly of us,
Now in angelic repose,
While I roam in our lodging place,
Where she never goes?

I will write a hundred verses
To remember you,
In dust upon this wooden floor,
In grain and paint that peels around me.

I will scratch a thousand sonnets
To honor love,
And wait behind this broken door,
And wait for you,
Where you burned your life away,
Five hundred years before.

Have you heard,
How I fell in love once,
With a girl in my ancient youth?

The song is here.

Saturday, May 3, 2014


Krishna said, "Vishvamitra, you weren’t born to punish the wicked, though the wicked have been punished by your hand. Nor were you born to reward the righteous, though you’ve bestowed treasures upon the righteous. Yet if you refrained from punishment and reward, still the wicked and the righteous are fully requited. Holding to this truth with unflinching certainty, you may rise above all bonds of action and desire, and you may yet be detached from the world and the things of this world. Harmed by none, and doing no harm by thought or act, there is contentment here. The way of man and the way of God are different ways. Do not take the road that isn’t yours to take."

This dawned on me a few days ago, that anger at injustice is still anger; and I knew at that moment that the one who practices injustice is punished, though we may not perceive the manner in which this punishment, in proportion to the crime, is delivered. Moreover, it isn't our place to know or ever to ask, for whether one believes in a cosmos that forever seeks balance, or in a God who treasures justice, the only path is detachment from anger, and contentment in repose, even if "the swords of the enemies rain blows upon thee, and all the heavens and the earth rise up against thee."