Saturday, April 10, 2010

A poem for the weekend

This one is an excerpt from Philip Appleman's poem titled "Five Easy Prayers for Pagans".

O Karma, Dharma, pudding & pie,
gimme a break before I die:
grant me wisdom, will and wit,
purity, probity, pluck and grit.
Trustworthy, helpful, friendly, kind,
gimme great abs and a steel-trap mind.
And forgive, Ye Gods, some humble advice -
these little blessings would suffice
to beget an earthly paradise:
make the bad people good
and the good people nice,
and before our world goes over the brink,
teach the believers how to think.

I like all the five prayers from the poem, especially the one to Shiva:
O Shiva, relentless Spirit of Outrage:
in this vale of tearful True Believers,
teach us to repeat again and again:
No, your Reverences, we will not serve
your Gross National Voodoo, your Church
Militant – we will not flatter the double faces
of those who pray in the Temple of
Incendiary Salvation.
Gentle Preserver, preserve the pure irreverence
of our stubborn minds.
Target the priests, Implacable Destroyer –
and hire a lawyer.


Saras said...

Another one, along the same theme that I really like is this:
Brahma, by Emerson. You must have read it:

If the red slayer think he slays,
Or if the slain think he is slain,
They know not well the subtle ways
I keep, and pass, and turn again.

Far or forgot to me is near,
Shadow and sunlight are the same,
The vanished gods to me appear,
And one to me are shame and fame.

They reckon ill who leave me out;
When me they fly, I am the wings;
I am the doubter and the doubt,
And I the hymn the Brahmin sings.

The strong gods pine for my abode,
And pine in vain the sacred Seven;
But thou, meek lover of the good!
Find me, and turn thy back on heaven.


Transmogrifier said...

Thanks for sharing the poem Saras. I had not read it. It's amazing how some of the verses in this poem come so close in meaning to some verses in the Bhagwad Geeta. Especially:

य एनं वेत्ति ह्न्तारं यश्चैनं मन्यते हतम्‌।
उभौ तौ न विजानीतो नायं हन्ति न हन्यते। (२-१९)

"The one who thinks of this (the Aatman) as the slayer and the one who thinks it can be slain, they both do not understand this. It neither slays nor is it slain."

I wonder if he had read the Geeta.

Saras said...

Yes! The resonances to Gita are unmistakable. Wikipedia says he was journaling his reading of the Gita around 1845.

Apparently, he was also deeply influenced by Adi Shankara's Advaita. Wikipedia directed me to his essay "The Over-Soul" and also to another interesting link: