When I joined Sri Chinmoy’s path (back in 1999), I read poetry series like the Dance of Life and didn’t always appreciate them. I preferred reading question and answers, and talks like ‘Everest Aspiration‘. Many years later, I dipped back into the poetry series Dance of Life and, at this point of time, the poems seemed to hold much greater understanding and resonance. Sri Chinmoy said he never wrote an autobiography, but in many of these early poems, I feel he wrote autobiographical incidents about his life. These autobiographical incidents were also visionary – in that many seemed to occur and develop after he wrote them in 1973.
Some poems are very striking, and contain a whole world of ideas. I wrote a short piece on a particular poem – Children of the Himalayan Caves | (DL 14). It was writing an essay which helped give a deeper appreciation for the poem. There is also wonderful language which can make you both smile and cry whilst reading the same individual poem.
Sri Chinmoy was a poet par excellence. Poetry was part of his life-breath and in these poems, he really put his life breath into them. After being his disciple for 15 years, they develop greater resonance because I see how the poems relate to his life, and also the life of a disciple.
I think the first time I listened to classical music, aged 10, I had no appreciation for it. But, when I tried 10 years later, I found it touched a part of my self, previously asleep or not receptive. That is what it can feel like with Sri Chinmoy’s writings – to really appreciate, you have to go through the spiritual experiences of a seeker – experiencing the highs and lows of any spiritual path, and then you can claim the poems as your own because they relate to incidents in your own spiritual search.
Another poem from the Dance of Life.
22. Visions of the emerald Beyond
No more am I the foolish customer
Of a dry, sterile, intellectual breeze.
I shall buy only
The weaving visions of the emerald Beyond.
Shall capture the Himalayan Smiles
Of my Pilot Supreme.
In the burial of my sunken mind
Is the revival of my climbing heart.
In the burial of my deceased mind
Is the festival of my all-embracing life.
– Sri Chinmoy, DL-22
- Children of the Himalayan Caves article at Write Spirit