Six Songs After Lalla Yogishwari

I.                    Perception

 When Sun was unperceived,

Then moonlight came.

When Moon was unperceived,

Then thought remained.

When thought was unperceived,

The wind blew round

And, nothing undeceived,

Made not a sound.


II.                  Sound

 Restless mind, be unafraid.

The one with no beginning meditates on you,

On how your hunger may fall away from you.

Chant the unobstructed sound to Him alone.


The ever-unobstructed sound

Has neither name nor shape nor hue.

His home is in the homeless void;

He is Himself the empty blue.


Lalla begins to know this truth

When glimpses of her Self begin:

The rings of sound that grow around

The dot of light within.


They know this surely who have found,

If the shout from His place be heard,

The Lord is unified with sound

As sound is unified with word.


III.               The Lefthand Path

 Bind your hatred round me; shout my shame.

Say what you please, or offer me your soul

Like flowers; they neither help nor harm.

So who gets what from it?


Say a thousand lies about me.

If I am devoted to my God, I remain serene.

Do ashes spoil a mirror?


Lady, rise: with cakes and wine and flesh in hand,

Go sacrifice. If you know the sound and place,

Violating custom cannot harm you.

What are a few customs among friends?


Hasty woman, feed your fatted rams

On the grain that makes them real; then slay them.

Only when you hear the ending verse

Will you know you have nothing to lose.


My teacher told me just one rule:

“Turn from the outer; look within.”

That became my word, my sentence;

That’s when I began my skyclad dance.


 IV.                To Shiva

 God of the dark blue throat,

We both have six attributes.

We are identical, yet different:

You rule your six, but mine rule me.

Far from you, I fall into misery.


Lord, I’ve known nothing of my Self or yours.

I’ve cherished my body by mortifying it so much.

I did not know that You are I, that I am You,

That we are One. I doubt by asking, “Who am I?”

And even more by asking “Who are You?”


You alone are Heaven and the Earth,

You alone are day and night and air,

The grain, the oil, the flowers, water,

All: it is all You! What can I give?


 V.                  Meditation

 I concentrate my breath to bring

Om and breath to my control:

My mind is caught in holy fire;

My body is a blazing coal.


Transcending all of action’s seats,

I overcome each source of heat

Until I reach the chilly room

That is the dwelling of the Moon,

Where timeless moonlight, silvery peace,

And insight flood out in a stream of release


VI.                Reputation

 Ride a bubble on the wind

To find the wind’s plantation.

Gather windroots in your hands,

Spin them into a single hair

And leash an elephant with it

To guard your reputation.


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