THE UPANISHADS

The Golden God, the Self, the immortal Swan

Leaves the small nest of the body, goes where He wants.

He moves through the realm of dreams; makes numberless forms;

Delights in sex; eats, drinks, laughs with His friends;

Frightens Himself with scenes of heart-chilling terror.

But He is not attached to anything that He sees;

And after He has wandered in the realms of dream and awakeness,

Has tasted pleasures and experienced good and evil,

He returns to the blissful state from which he began.

As a fish swims forward to one riverbank then the others,

Self alternates between awakeness and dreaming.

As an eagle, weary from long flight, folds its wings,

Gliding down to it nest, Self hurries to the realm

Of dreamless sleep, free of desires, fear, pain.

As a man in sexual union with this beloved

Is unaware of anything outside or inside,

So a man in union with Self knows nothing, wants nothing,

Has found his heart’s fulfillment and is free of sorrow.

Father disappears, mother disappears, gods

And scripture disappear, thief disappears, murderer,

Rich man, beggar disappear, world disappears,

Good and evil disappear, he has passed beyond sorrow.

(Last winter I collected some of my favorite ‘spiritual’ poems and compiled them in a personal book I called “Remembering the Sacred Self.” This excerpt from The Unpanishads, one of the greatest and oldest of spiritual books written around 500 to 800 BC. is one of my favorites.

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