Thursday, February 24, 2011

Kabir in Springtime

There is little known about Kabir, the great poet of India, who was born on or near 1398 to a Muslim family on the outskirts of Benares. He was a bit of an iconoclast to both the Muslim and Hindu communities during his life, claiming that direct access to the Divine is most desirable, not one's theology or religious practice per se.

The following quote is rather Buddhist, but has been well-echoed in the writings of Hazrat Inayat Khan:

"Life is a field and you are born to cultivate it. And if you know how to cultivate this field you can produce anything you like. All the need of your life can be produced in this field. All that your soul yearns after and all you need is to be gotten from the field, if you know how to cultivate it and how to reap the fruit."

In the mental purification of the Sufis, or the clear mind of the Buddhist, we replace what is troubling or disturbing to the waters of the mind not by excessively focusing on what is wrong but by stilling the mind and choosing the qualities we would like to cultivate. This is not to condone denial of what is but rather directing our energies to create what we desire in life and that creates harmony and beauty for oneself and others.

One of the Songs of Kabir:

I have stilled my restless mind and my heart is radiant:
for in Thatness I have seen beyond Thatness,
in company I have seen the Comrade Himself.

Living in bondage, I have set myself free:
I have broken away from the clutch of all narrowness.

Kabir says: "I have attained the unattainable,
and my heart is colored with the color of love."

What would you like to cultivate in your garden this springtime? What flowers, trees, bushes or birds would you like to live to be living there? The choice is yours....

Friday, February 18, 2011

Ragas from the Vadan, The Divine Symphony

A raga (Sanskrit for color or hue) is a melodic mode used in classical Indian music. These were often sung at particular times of the days or seasons of the year to enhance their effect on body and soul.

Inayat Khan himself was a noted Indian singer and instrumentalist as well as a mystic. Included below are a few of his short ragas from the Vadan. Perhaps one of them will resonate within your heart with a particular tint or hue:

By Thy skillful hands Thou hast made these flowers; by the power of Thy magic glance Thou hast colored them so beautifully: Thou hast breathed on flowers, giving them life and radiance, and with a kiss Thou hast made them fragrant.

Beloved, Thou makest me fuller every day.
Thou diggest into my heart deeper than the depths of the earth.
Thou raisest my soul higher than the highest heaven,
making me more empty every day and yet fuller.
Thou makest me wider than the ends of the world;
Thou stretchest my two arms across the land and the sea,
giving into my enfoldment the East and the West.
Thou changest my flesh into fertile soil;
Thou turnest my blood into streams of water;
Thou kneadest my clay, I know, to make a new universe.

In the swinging of the branches, in the flying of the birds, and in the running of the water,
Beloved, I see Thy waving hand, bidding me good-bye.
In the cooing of the wind, in the roaring of the sea, and in the crashing of the thunder,
Beloved, I see Thee weep and I hear Thy cry.
In the promise of the dawn, in the breaking of the morn, in the smiles of the rose,
Beloved, I see Thy joy at my homecoming.

Let my insight be deeper than the ocean;
Let my mind be more fertile than the land;
Let my heart be wider than the horizon, Beloved;
and let my soul soar higher than Paradise.