Learning the scriptures is easy

by Lalla

English version by Ivan M. Granger
Original Language Kashmiri

Learning the scriptures is easy;
but living them, that's hard.
Far easier to read words on a page
than to seek the living heart of things.

Fumbling through the fog of study,
stumbling, I lost my last words.
     -- And my vision cleared.
     Oh the sight that met me then!

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

Learning the scriptures is easy;
but living them, that's hard.

Too often people slip into the bad habit of fundamentalism, confusing the ability to quote scripture and rules with actually embodying that truth in their daily lives. Memorization and carefully controlled behavior doesn't do the job. It keeps things safely in the intellect and then we never have to truly confront the heart's urge to open.

But Lalla reminds us:

Far easier to read words on a page
than to seek the living heart of things.

Not only is it not easy to seek the deep reality, it's messy. We are confronted by aspects of ourselves that are frightening and frightened, hidden even from our own awareness. History, hopes, angers, ambitions...

Each human life is far too rich and multi-layered to be truncated into the safe, neat, predefined stories we are told to live out. The human soul is not a cartoon, without depth or detail. No, a full spirituality incorporates all that we are. To be holy is to be whole -- nothing left out. The map of the human soul is a topographical map, with mountains and valleys, and rivers of life everywhere. Until we've acknowledged that entire landscape, we only have an incomplete sense of all that we are, and all that humanity is that's when compassion collapses, the world appears fragmented, and the vision of the the living heart of things is lost in the cracks.

Fumbling through the fog of study,
stumbling, I lost my last words.

After learning the scriptures, Lalla has swept her mental space clean. Now that's real work! Instead of just memorizing the words of scripture, she has become the blank page that effortlessly displays them.

-- And my vision cleared.
Oh the sight that met me then!



Recommended Books: Lalla

Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women Poetry for the Spirit: Poems of Universal Wisdom and Beauty I Lalla: The Poems of Lal Ded Naked Song The Ascent of Self: A Reinterpretation of the Mystical Poetry of Lalla-Ded
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Learning the scriptures