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Poems by Sacinandana Swami

The Light in the Basement

I like to express good ideas in poetic form because I believe that these allow the reader to have a personal experience of the concept presented. One such idea comes from Søren Kierkegaard, the Danish existentialist, who compared human life to living in a multi-storied house; the different levels of existence which we can live on correlate to the body, mind and soul. He aptly observed:

“Every human being is a psychical-physical synthesis intended to be spirit; this is the building, but he prefers to live in the basement, that is in the sensate categories. Moreover, he not only prefers to live in the basement – no, he loves it so much that he is indignant if anyone suggests he move to the superb upper floor that stands vacant and at his disposal, for he is, after all, living in his own house.”

I’ve always liked this analogy. Thus, I’d like to share with you a poem I’ve written with the attempt to expand on this concept.

The Light in the Basement

A bike with a flat tire
a drawer with things I’ll never use again
old keys – discarded and mismatched…
No, I can’t throw them away because
“Some day I might need them”

My heart’s a gloomy basement room – gloomy with
supressed anger and fear,
cluttered with old insecurities, doubts,
notes of antiquated pain…
It all feels like part of me.
Isn’t there a ray of light?

The first meeting with my spiritual master at the London airport
engulfed by his divine effulgence,
a breakthrough kirtan in Hamburg,
and undeserved revelations
one night at Govardhana mountain,
they do bring light…

Let me open my heart to make room for more!
I feel the light spreading within.
My dear Srila Prabhupada,
dear devotees, dear Lord – don’t pass me by!
Please see, there is space in my heart for you.
I am clearing up this mess.
Please come to reside in me.
Your mercy is all I truly need.
 

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