The last night


ruke ruke se qadam, ruk ke baar baar chale
qaraar le ke tere dar se beqaraar chale

subha na aayi, ka’i baar neend se jaage
ki ek raat hi ye zindagi guzaar chale

– gulzar

 

The night was still. It was his last night there. A few hours later, he would leave and take a train to where he came from.

But now, was something else. He sat facing the grove of old, tall trees and the ground beneath them – bare earth, without any grass. Here was where the teacher had taught. Where truth had made its presence felt. And after many years of the teacher’s death, there was still the fragrance of the teachings. The enormous stillness of the trees, the full moon, and the total silence – all preserved and kept alive a subtle but definite sense of the other. There was more here than the eyes could see, the ears could hear, the nose could smell.

The teacher was dead, but the teacher was also present. All that was inessential had passed – the body, the voice, the incidents of his life. All that was essential remained – the teachings, the space for inquiry into the meaning of our lives, and the possibility of a real relationship between us all, without screens and without superficialities. The seeds sown for decades were still present, and they could take root and flower still.

Slowly, he also realised that this place was like home, even though barely anyone knew him here. A warmth emanated from it, an intimacy that did not have its origins in what he knew and thought. The warmth was far too organic, pre-verbal, and immensely personal to be attributed to his life history. It was a place where one had prayed, where one had deposited hopes and where one had shared sorrows. A place where true friendship had manifested. It was a place one had given one’s life to. And faced all the tremendous and terrible consequences of that. This night was a night of homecoming as much as it was a night of discovery and taking root in the teachings.

He sat there with a sense of wonder. In the spaces between thoughts, a silence reigned. The full moon blessed the night. The tall trees graced the atmosphere. A presence was fully alive. And the air was permeated with the fragrance of the sacred.

As he stood up and walked away, he remembered a song that had been sung here for decades, over and over. Slow, sad, but ferociously magnificent, it filled up all there was, inside and outside.

 

jheeni jheeni jheeni, beeni chadariya
kaahe ka taana, kaahe ka bharani

kaun taar se beeni chadariya

aath kanwal dal charkha dole
paanch tat, gun teeni, chadariya
jheeni jheeni jheeni, beeni chadariya

sai ko siyat maas das laage
thok thok ke beeni chadariya
jheeni jheeni jheeni, beeni chadariya

so chaadar sur nar muni odhe
odh ke maili keeni, chadariya
jheeni jheeni jheeni, beeni chadariya

das kabira jatan se odhe
jo ki to dhar dini, chadariya
jheeni jheeni jheeni, beeni chadariya

– kabir

subtle, subtle, subtle
is the weave
of that cloth

what is the warp
what is the weft
with what thread
did he weave that cloth?

subtle, subtle, subtle
is the weave
of that cloth

the spinning wheel whirled
the eight lotuses
the five elements
the three qualities
with these
he wove that cloth

subtle, subtle, subtle
is the weave
of that cloth

it took ten months
to stitch the cloth
‘thok’, ‘thok’ he wove
that cloth

subtle, subtle, subtle
is the weave
of that cloth

gods, sages, humans
wore this cloth
and got it soiled

subtle, subtle, subtle
is the weave
of that cloth

kabir wore it with such care
that it remained just as it was
even when it fell away

– translation from Linda Hess, Singing Emptiness

 

 

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~ by tdcatss on December 27, 2015.

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