Whatever It was

by Devara Dasimayya

English version by A. K. Ramanujan
Original Language Kannada

Whatever It was

that made this earth
the base,
the world its life,
the wind its pillar,
arranged the lotus and the moon,
and covered it all with folds
of sky

with Itself inside,

to that Mystery
indifferent to differences,

to It I pray,
O Ramanatha.

-- from Speaking of Siva, by A K Ramanujan

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

In this poem Devara Dasimayya almost appears to be describing a piece of architecture or sculpture: the earth as the base, a pillar topped with a lotus and the moon, draped in a folded material "of sky." And some mysterious "It" both makes this structure and houses Itself within the creation.

We can understand this poem as a description of the body and its spiritual energies. The body's fundamental material, its "base" material, is earth. The wind or vital breath is its pillar, traveling up the energetic column of the subtle spine. The lotus is the crown chakra and the moon is the brow chakra, often called the third eye. To be "covered... with folds / of sky" is to be surrounded and filled by akasha or the subtle ether that permeates all space. Akasha is sometimes described as being in "folds" as an early metaphor (appropriate to a weaver) that suggests how distant points of the same fabric can touch, Point A can touch point B by folding the cloth together until they meet. A more contemporary idea is the hologram, where every point contains the whole image within it, thus every point contains or is connected with every other point. The etheric akasha is the same way; it is holographic -- through this subtle substance of awareness, all points touch.

And within this magical compilation of forces, dense and subtle, that make up the body -- "with Itself inside" -- resides "that Mystery." God, here, is not an external being or force, but a presence within. The truth of the mystic is to look within for the Divine.

In Devara Dasimayya's vision, God is "indifferent to differences," that is, the Eternal is perfectly whole, complete, still. The Eternal One witnesses the fluctuations of dualistic experience without being tainted or disturbed by it. There is no fluctuation amidst the fluctuations. There is a universal oneness amidst the endless variety.

To that "It" does the whole universe pray...



Recommended Books: Devara Dasimayya

Speaking of Siva





Whatever It was