by Allama Prabhu

English version by A. K. Ramanujan
Original Language Kannada

devoured darkness.

I was alone

the visible dark

was Your target

O Lord of Caves.

-- from Speaking of Siva, by A K Ramanujan

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

This succinct poem, with its staccato phrases, manages to convey the sense of all-pervading divine light the mystic often witnesses in deep ecstasy.

That light fills everything, consuming everything into itself. Everything, even darkness, is seen as a manifestation of that fundamental radiance.

You are "alone" inside the light in the sense that you are so utterly whole that there is nothing outside of yourself, no sense of separation or other. There isn't multiplicity, but the fullness and solitude of unity.

An interesting statement: "I / was Your target." This can convey a few layers of meaning. The duality of target/arrow has a gender connotation of female/male. It is common in esoteric metaphor to speak of the soul in feminine terms and God in masculine terms (lover/Beloved, bride/Bridegroom). So, on one level, Allama Prabhu is saying he is a receptive lover to God; there is a joining, a penetration of his very center. But, of course, there is also the implied violence or destruction of an arrow piercing its target. It is the "I" that is destroyed in this union. The ego, the small self, the sense of being a separate identity has been vanquished by this experience of oneness.

Recommended Books: Allama Prabhu

Speaking of Siva