Saloko Nano

Pir Sadardin

The entire world says
Beloved, beloved!
But the beloved
Is had by none.
If the beloved
Were to be had
By lip-service,

There would be no dealing in heads. 

Bugs and beasts too cry 
For the beloved
And none attain
The beloved.
If the beloved
Were to be had
Through lip service,

The stork would be as the swan.

Storks and swans
Are distinct, yet like-seeming.
The stork feeds at whim,
While the swan
On a diet of pearls.
 
Glass beads and gems
Are distinct
And when appraised
Reveal their worth.
Purchased glass
Fills the poison-store,
While the gem
Yields sparkling light.

The master-less one
And the master-guided
Are distinct, yet like-seeming.
The master-less soul
Feeds on junk,
While the master-guided,
On the name of the Lord.

The name was said countless times.
Absent 
Were pangs of love.
It was all 
 plaster laid on dust,
 the mere beat
 of punctured drums.
 
How will they cross ashore -
The master,
 with a sack on his head,
The pupil,
 with a load on his head,
Both of them 
 seated in a metal boat?

Where the master is blind
And the pupil
Good for nothing;
Self-opinionated,
Stubborn at heart -
No, there's not for them

Salvation after death.

The world is a vast raging sea.
On the head
 sits a heavy load.
If you seat yourself
 in the boat of love,
Satagur
 will sail you across.

Make a boat 
 of God's name,
 filling it
 with the weight of truth.
If now the wind of love were to rise,
Satagur will sail it across.

We came to this world
Carrying salvation's secret clue.
Pomp, pleasure, office -
They had it all.
But few -

O, all too few,
Proved a lover's worth.

Their luck ran out,
They who observed 
 austerities,
 pilgrimages,
 countless alms.
Having relished paradise,
Down they plunged -

They who never knew
The light divine.

Brahmins, Yogis, Shaivites -
 all wander astray.
How can that soul get to be 
 immortal,
Who never got to know the true guide?

From the four mines you came forth, 
And sank
 into a huge forgetfulness. 
Thanks to merit 
Earned in previous births,
You attained human form.

You bore human form,
Yet none knows 
Salvation's clue.
How dare the ruby boast
So long as it stays
Unpierced at the core?

Time's falcon 
Hovers on your head.
Don't you count 
On whatever. Only, 
Keep the beloved in your heart,
In the manner
Of the high risen sun.

Untimely
You came into the world
Stumbling 
Through the four mines.
Hatched from a half-formed egg,
You never saw
The risen sun.

The sun rose,
And all was light.
Gone was the night.
Even so,
Through the nine constellations 
Shines the Lord, 
Like the morning's
Risen sun. 

When the sun is overhead 
All call it day,
None says night.
Even so,
Satagur is the saviour of the age.
There's no salvation
Through another.

Light 
 made the world.
And light
 built the skies.
From the light
There sprang a light:
Satagur was its name.

Where in the heart
The light of faith 
 is ablaze, 
Ignorance 
 keeps at bay.
What can they do,
Powers of the dark,
Where there shines
Satagur's light?

Seek out
The manifest form, 
And trust him with a truthful heart.
For when iron kisses 
The philosopher's stone, 
In an instant 
It turns to gold.

Gold and silver
Are the true stuff,
Subjected 
To the fiery test.
But with a base alloy added, 
How will the mixture ever melt?

The wasp and the larvae
Are distinct,
Abiding in the nest.
Suffering the wasp's sting,
The larvae
Comes to be as the wasp.
 
Everyone dies a false death
And none dies the true way.
He who dies
In wisdom divine
Has no more deaths to die.

You came over, 
Oblivious soul, 
In the vast oblivion
Of ignorance; came
Eighty-four times,
Yet never slew 
The furies five.

He who checks the five furies,
Dies to the world.
Making the Satagur
His companion,
He is destined
To the immortal home.

The Ganges came its way 
From heaven's domain,
Off Vishnu's feet.
Legion streams
Running into it,
Become the Ganges as it is.

The Ganges is a site
For prolific shrines.
But the shrine of shrines,
The Satagur Pirinfo-icon
From the Ganges stays all aloof,
Declaring its waters

Null and void.

Why worship the void?
Honour instead
 the living light.
Till love does not attach
 to the beloved,
The soul will languish
 in the four mines.

Ghost-worship
Is the whole world's way
And dooms its creatures
To colossal rounds.
Having made the jungle 
Your residence,
Who will you find there 
To show you the way?

Having wandered off 
To the jungle,
You were a lost soul.
Who there would show you the way?
If only
In that boundless wild 
You were to meet a living soul
You might glimpse
Destination's whereabouts.

Where the world is void,
And blind are the times,
When the void
Worships the void:
Like the orgasm
Of the impotent 
Is the immortality 
Of such a soul.

Barren lands 
 get resettled.
And the impoverished
 get rich again.
But consider this marvel
 of marvels:
The dead
 do not get 
 to live again.

I looked up the sixty-eight shrines,
And found some of it to be rock
And some of it, water.
What welcome will he find -
A guest in an empty home?


The shrine is face to face
 in the heart.
And in the heart
Is the gate to faith.
Worship the Lord 
 in the heart.
 In the heart
Lies deliverance
And the vision divine.

Love-worship abides
In the heart,
All attention
Focussed at the core.
Reciting the word
Is its way, 
 inhaling,
 exhaling,
 with the ears 
 shut to sound. 

Take the Lord's name
With every breath
With no thought 
Of aught else.
Keep not the beloved
A hair's breadth away;
Be as the wave 
Merging into the ocean's depths.

Rise to the zikr, 
And grasp the gift of night.
When from the navel
The breath takes its start,
Start a talk then
With the beloved Lord.

Kill all expectations
And don the adornment
 of truth.
Paint the eyes with the kohl 
 of love,
Make of the beloved
A garland round the neck.

As the morning breaks
And the sun rises,
Irradiating
The nine constellations, 
Shedding as much light
In every nook
As is needed -

So the beloved resides 
In every heart.

The beloved is had
With total love;
Loveless,
He stays far away -
Like the lotus
In the water's midst:
Impervious, its skin.

The entire world says,
Beloved, beloved.
But the beloved
Is had by none.
The lips relate but one story,
While of the beloved's mystery,
None knows a thing.

If the beloved were to be had 
By lip-service,
While the head labours
Under a heavy load,
And the heart wanders
Separate from the lips -
Why, a broken boat
Will not make it
To the shore.

They call themselves
Learned pundits of the world, 
And make all and sundry
Drink of their feet.
Of salvation's mystery 
They know but nothing,
And so they only 
Multiply their sins.

They learned a lot
And never took to the right road.
If you run around a lot
You will only fall
Into colossal rounds.

On the housetop
Shines the light,
While dark night
Reigns within.
Futile
Are the outward ablutions
When the interior grime
Stays with you all the while.

Taking elixir
Purges poison.
Taking water
Quenches thirst.
Taking a meal 
Relieves hunger.
 So, 
Taking God's name
Removes pollution.

Truth and falsehood
Are distinct -
Tell the difference, you 
Who can tell differences.
When that pearl cracked
Being strung,
It lost untold worth.

The world gives ear
To the liar
 and kicks
At the honest man.
When a liar meets up
With a liar,
 together
They will declare
 two and two
 to be five.

Everyone speaks
The collective speech.
And none utters
Words of truth.
They carp and slander all along,
Oblivious of their state
 and so,
Pile karma on their heads.

Karma can all be undone.
Not so, slander
And false imputation.
Nor is adultery undone,
Nor suicide,
Nor too
Infanticide.

He who bears the mark
Of these five forms 
Of slaughter,
Each and every one of them a sin,
Will never ever be immortal
Through he were, day after day,
To sit in the congregation.

They all do penance
And pilgrimage,
And proffer alms
Huge as the earth.
And yet,
Though they bathe in the Ganges,
Never ever
Will their karma be undone.

The five acts of slaughter
Were denounced in the other world,
And etched
On an iron plate.
Never ever will it fade,
Even as it breaks.
There's no way out then,
But to live out 
The allocated fate.

So what,
If you made yourself a sati?
If you did not smoulder
For the beloved's sake?
Go, go away,
Wretched woman -
Not for love
Did you die. 

It is they who died, 
Whose unruly selves
 died;
Who made themselves 
Low as the earth.
See the wonder of it:
These puppets 
Of five organs,
Uttering
The unuttered chant.

Wherever we looked 
Through the ages,
We saw the poor.
And of the rich,
We saw but none.
Reckon him as rich,
Who to the beloved
Is bound in love.

Love does not 
 grow in fields;
Nor is love
 sold in shops;
Love arises
 in the heart,
 and the heart
 it corrodes, 
 through and through.

They are the worthy ones
Who were as dead,
Their hearts
Ridden with darts.
As for those who are spear-proof,
They're but mountain rocks.

Preaching to the mountain rocks
I made them melt.
But the lost souls,
Bereft of a Guide,
Sunk in vast ignorance,
Just wouldn't melt.
Like splinters on the anvil:
In the absence of the Guide,
Ineffectual darts.

Where the shafts of passion strike,
Where love inflicts throbbing wounds,
Sleep deserts the eyes, 
 powerless.
For the soul is all-awake,
Losing the entire night, 
Calling for the beloved
Till night passes into day.

Being brave,
They gave their heads,
As under an enemy's blows.
Holding their lives cheap,
It is in death
That they'll have their due.

Dancing on the gallows,
The player makes his play,
Treading on a sword-edge,
Lashed and whipped the while.
 
Dear as pearls,
The Lord is obtained
By giving gold. 
How is such a Lord
To be abandoned

At the carping of common folk?

Adore the one who is
 ascendant.
Authority is his
Whose turn it is.
What use singing praises
Of the meal 
 relished yesterday?

Why relate tales of old?
 Rather probe
The prevailing mystery -
The high-risen, glorious form,
 shedding
Moonlight into hearts.
Of this glory,
None knows the formula.

The formula of truth
Is best of all.
Proceed in truth.
Those who go about
Lacking in truth, 
Will whirl about
On incessant rounds. 

In Kalajug unsteady is the world.
Those who follow
Words of scripture
Will in a trice
Swim ashore -

As did the five crores
In Kartåjug, 
Total in their faith, 
Never letting a defect
Linger in their hearts,
And were straight delivered 
By Pahelåj the King;

As did the seven crores,
True followers of truth,
Speaking ill of none, 
Delivered
In Tretåjug
By Harischandra the King;

As did the nine crores
Delivered
In Duåpurjug 
By the Påndavas
Who froze their flesh
But never let go
Of their truth, constant
In their love of God;

As did the twelve crores,
In Kalajug,
Who stayed true,
With Pir Sadardin the true,
 unhesitating 
In their devotion 
 to the Lord.

 Pir Sadardin is the true one:
Appreciate this,
O faithful ones,
For in all four ages
All too many souls 
Went astray. 

- So did Gur Sohodev say.

Saloko Nano: Selected Verses
Esmail, Aziz. A Scent of Sandalwood: Indo-Ismaili Religious Lyrics. (London: Curzon in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2002), 153-179.


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