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Poems by Sacinandana Swami

The Road of Tears

By Sacinandana Swami


How to express deep spiritual realizations without making them sound trivial? Words we use in this world can, at best, describe the experiences of this world; never transcendental insights. I feel that poetry is the answer. Poetry communicates through analogies, hints, unspoken truths, indirect allusions, and more than anything else, through emotions. Thus, the images which appear while reading a poem carry our understanding much further than normal descriptions. At the end of my annual retreat this year, I asked myself how I could best share some of my experiences, and suddenly, this poem appeared in my mind. In this poem, we’ll find through the discussion between a disillusioned, doubtful disciple and his realized, humble guru, that a deep secret becomes revealed. I hope it is helpful for you, dear reader.

The Road of Tears

The disappointed disciple with a heavy heart speaks:
“Who can say I’ve never tried?
All those mantras I’ve chanted…
All those vows that kept me awake for so many lonely nights…
All those pilgrimages, sacrifices, holy baths in ice-cold water…
What to speak of persistently ignoring the requests of my mind and senses
to do what is most dear to them!
The result?
All this has brought me to, at present, is desperation.
The old emptiness in the heart has only become greater!”

The guru replies:
“It seems you have done your best
to come before the Divine Couple.
But have you ever tried to act in such a way
that They can come before you?
Have you yet built
your road for Them?
The road of tears?”

“The road of tears?
What tears?”

“Tears of the soul.
There are different kinds of tears –
‘body tears’
we cry in physical pain;
these tears are salty.
‘Mind tears’
we cry when emotionally hurt;
they taste bitter.
And tears
that come from the soul
as it awakens to its only real need.
The soul’s need is to enter into the One relationship.
These tears taste incredibly sweet!

“This road of tears can’t be found on any map.
It begins from your own heart.
But it is so attractive to the Divine Couple
that They cannot even imagine ignoring it.
Just to begin building this road
makes Them feel They must come before you!”

The disciple:
“Does this road need many tears?
I have cried all my tears for other things.
I am completely empty inside.
How can I possibly build this road?”

The guru, enthusiastically:
“Don’t worry!
There are oceans of tears
arrested in your heart.
You only need to learn
to direct them to the right cause…
Then they become released.
But before a downpour,
there is a flash of lightning.
Similarly, there has to be a divine revelation -
golden Radha, and
cloud-blue Krishna
have to appear in the heart.
Then the water gushes forth.
Sweet tears of longing for the Lord,
whom you once gave up.”

The disciple:
“A saint once shared with me,
‘I’m building my road…’
Now I understand what he meant.
But who or what can initiate this ecstatic downpour?”

“It’s not dependent on you alone.
It’s the Lord and His crying for us
that will unleash this monsoon flood.”

Suddenly, the guru turns away,
and leaves the disciple swiftly.
On the guru’s empty sitting place,
the disciple finds a shining peacock feather
and a golden champak flower which smell as if
they belong to visitors from another dimension.
And there is also a paper:

“Build the road of tears –
as soon as you can!”

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