Adapted from The Art of Awakening the Soul, by Prashant S. Shah — available from Amazon and Kindle book store.
These poems depict some emotional experiences that arise at the different stages on the mystical path. They express clearly, in just a few words, what cannot be conveyed through extensive descriptions. You can meditate on these verses to feel the divine presence.
You Lead And I Follow
You Are My Strength
I Live For You
1. The Call
The pride in me would say,
“I do not beg, nor do I pray.”
But one day a call quietly came in to say,
“Hold my hand and I’ll show you the way.”
I held the hand, just to know.
But now, I never want to let go.
When an egg is hatched, it cracks open. In the same way, when we arrive at a critical stage in our journey on earth, we find some reason to embark on a spiritual path. Sometimes we are motivated by dissatisfaction. Sometimes we are seeking to find a love that lasts. Sometimes we are intrigued by the mysterious and the unknown. And sometimes we want to make our life more valuable by living for a cause greater than ourselves.
Whatever it is, first a call arises from within. Then we find the commitment to go wherever it may lead us.
2. Patient Waiting
Would you pluck a flower before it has blossomed?
Would you crush a sprouting seed?
Through patient waiting they ripen.
So also our unexpressed thoughts and unfinished works
Must await their time for harvesting.
All of us want to progress quickly. So, when the progress is slow (or not at all) we become very impatient.
But everything in nature has to pass through the different stages as it matures. A baby doesn’t start running. First, it learns to turn over. Then, it begins to crawl. Next, it learns to stand up and balance. And later on it begins to take a few steps forward.
In the same way, all of us have to pass through the stages. The stages prepare us for higher things and test our readiness. What happens when we try to arrive before we are ready? Nothing works. Hence, we frustrate ourselves.
3. The Ego
You were the first occupant of my house.
So, as a friend, I trusted you.
But you and your companions are no friends of mine.
You bring in only trouble and strife.
Henceforth, stay away from this house;
For now, this is my masters’ dwelling.
In the early stages of our practice our actions are motivated by the ego. If the ego is not tempted or satisfied, we sulk or become impatient and threaten to give up our pursuit.
However, as we progress we see that the ego is setting up or causing all the troubles of our life. This insight totally changes our attitude towards the ego. Then we do not act with the motive of ego satisfaction. Instead, we look for the ways to get out of clutches of the ego! And that makes a big difference.
4. Your Cupbearer
You keep filling my cup.
But I spill it again and again.
I’ve scattered your gift so often,
But you still fill it again.
Truly, I do not know how to fill this cup.
I only know that you have placed this cup in my hand.
You give and you keep;
I am only your humble cupbearer.
As our insight matures, we understand that the talent we have and the opportunities that we get are not so deserved. More often these are granted to us. Hence, we begin to feel grateful to have them.
Then, our achievements do not make us proud. We do not wish to make a claim of greatness. We know that without God’s support we are really not worth very much.
5. You Lead And I Follow
I look back upon the mess I have made and ask:
“Could it have been better?”
But you say: “Whatever happened had to happen.”
So now I have stopped striving for myself
And only seek to serve you.
Now you lead and I follow.
And everything turns out just right.
When we are guided by our blind and inferring mind, we are led by our desires and tendencies. They decide for us. It makes our personal nature assertive. Then we spoil everything.
However, once we understand this fact we begin to lower our ego and subordinate it to a higher principle that has started to awaken within us. Then we discipline the mind to be quiet and make it receptive to the intuition that arises. Further, we make our mind follow the directions that we receive intuitively. Something strange happens when the mind gives up its resistance. We become peaceful, more capable and also more effective in what we do.
6. You Are My Strength
As light dispels darkness,
You have overcome my formidable foe.
What I tried so hard to do, but could not,
You have done in just one stroke.
Now that I have your presence, I feel safe.
Please stay with me.
I have no strength without you.
Some of our tendencies are so deeply entrenched in the subconscious that we helplessly give in to them. Thus, they make us dance to their tune.
To overcome such tendencies we must have access to a power that is higher than the mind. To hold on to this higher power, we contemplate on it. We attune our mind with it and allow it to work through us.
7. I Live For You
I first came to you with a load of things.
So I could not take your gift.
I tried to pick something from here and there,
But you would not let me make my mix.
So disappointed, I returned to shed the load.
Now I come empty and unaccompanied,
To take whatever you may give, and do your wish.
Mine is gone, and yet I remain.
I have emptied, and yet I’m filled.
Now I live, but just for you.
God does not wish that the higher powers should be used for our egoistic purposes. Hence, when we seek divine help and receive it, we should be very careful not to misuse it.
We say that God is with us and so success will be ours. But God seems to ask: “Are you really with me?” “Do you want success for yourself or do you want to accomplish something for me?”
Truly, to live spiritually is to live for God and to allow God to look after us.
8. The Awakening
The sound of your mantra has aroused me – Who was lost in idle dreams.
I woke up just for a moment,
But something has turned over inside me.
Now, even in sleep
Something is still awake and watching.
That which you have awakened sleeps no more.
Your awareness at the surface of the mind is restless and like a dream (lost in inner chatter). However, when the awareness shifts to a position behind the surface mind the mind becomes calm and open. Then we can hold the intuition and insight.
When the awareness goes deeper within, you can mirror the watcher. It reveals the sublime and luminous consciousness of the soul. You feel that it has always been there, watching over you from behind a veil, and waiting for you to reverse the direction of your gaze to find it. It will thrill you with its love and beauty, and give you the feeling of deep happiness that earlier you had sought through people and things of the world.