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 Pir 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.