As the man and the woman in me

by Lalan

English version by Deben Bhattacharya
Original Language Bengali

As the man and the woman in me
Unite in love,
The brilliance of beauty
Balanced on the bi-petalled
Lotus bloom in me
Dazzles my eyes.
The rays
Outshine the moon
And the jewels
Glowing on the hoods of snakes.

My skin and bone
Are turned to gold.
I am the reservoir of love,
Alive as the waves.

A single drop of water
Has grown into a sea,
Unnavigable...

-- from The Mirror of the Sky: Songs of the Bauls of Bengal, Translated by Deben Bhattacharya

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/ Photo by Per Ola Wiberg..(PO...or Powi) /


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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

These few lines are packed with the encoded alchemical language of Bengali Tantric Yoga. Let's have some fun exploring its inner meaning.

As the man and the woman in me
Unite in love...

The man and woman that unite are "in me;" they are internal principles. It is the uniting of the masculine and feminine energies within the individual. This union in love, is the harmonizing of the solar and lunar energetic pathways that run parallel to the spine, called the ida and the pingala in Yoga.

When these masculine and feminine energies are brought into stable balance, the central energetic channel, called the shushumna, opens, allowing the primary life force, the Kundalini, to rise to the brow, to the two-petalled chakra, sometimes referred to as the third eye:

The brilliance of beauty
Balanced on the bi-petalled
Lotus bloom in me
Dazzles my eyes.

When the Kundalini energy rises to the crown, it creates a second, more transformative union. The Kundalini is the fundamental life energy, the energy of manifested presence. It is the universal feminine principal within the individual. When it awakens and rises fully to the crown, it merges with the masculine heavenly principal, often identified with Shiva. When the two "unite in love," we are filled with the radiant light of enlightenment.

The rays
Outshine the moon...

The awareness is transformed. One no longer identifies with the limited body, but with a subtler, stronger, shining body of which the physical body is a mere reflection. This is the alchemically awakened body.

My skin and bone
Are turned to gold.

The heart fully opens. Why continue holding it shut? An immense love just pours through, unhindered. And we know a new sense of being truly alive. It is not so much the feeling that "I" am alive; rather, it is more as if the immensity of Life is felt, and lives through you.

I am the reservoir of love,
Alive as the waves.

Bliss fills the consciousness and becomes honey on the palette. We discover ourselves to be floating in an incomprehensibly wide ocean of nectar.

A single drop of water
Has grown into a sea...

And that sea is beyond form. It simply is. Everywhere. It is "unnavigable," for where is there to go? We are eternally bathed by its waters. The work we have done is to finally recognize this immutable truth.

Did you bring your bathing suit?



Recommended Books: Lalan

The Mirror of the Sky: Songs of the Bauls of Bengal





As the man and the