Jun 08 2012

Devara Dasimayya – To the utterly at-one with Siva

Published by at 9:31 am under Poetry

To the utterly at-one with Siva
by Devara Dasimayya

English version by A. K. Ramanujan

To the utterly at-one with Siva
there’s no dawn,
no new moon,
no noonday,
nor equinoxes,
nor sunsets,
nor full moons;

his front yard
is the true Benares,

O Ramanatha.

— from Speaking of Siva, by A K Ramanujan

/ Photo by whologwhy /

To the utterly at-one with Siva…

That line stops me in my tracks each time I read it. Do you have that same reaction?

there’s no dawn,
no new moon,
no noonday…

Time and the phenomenal experiences that move through time are seen as glimmerings on the surface of the immense, still sea of the Eternal. Days and seasons, action and reaction exist only for the unsettled ego-self. For the true Self, which is “utterly at-one with Siva,” there is only Siva, there is only the Eternal. Dawn and sunset, new moon and full moon, time and motion, all of these are simply Siva’s ornaments fluctuating in timelessness.

This is another way of saying there is no separation in Reality. The new moon pours into the full moon, the glow of dawn naturally builds to noon’s blaze and fills the sunset with its sleepy glory. They are not separate objects or events, but a single continuity witnessed from different perspectives. They are one, shifting glimmerings upon the surface of the Eternal.

Truly realizing this, you recognize that wherever you are is the holiest place in the universe. There is no fundamental difference or distance between the ground under your feet and the most sacred pilgrimage spot. They are the same. Your “front yard / is the true Benares,” or Jerusalem, Rome, Mecca…

Devara Dasimayya

India (10th Century) Timeline
Yoga / Hindu : Shaivite (Shiva)

Devara Dasimayya was one of the earliest of the Virasaiva poet-saints, a forerunner of later beloved figures like Basavanna and Akka Mahadevi.

Dasimayya addressed his poems to Ramanatha, or “Rama’s lord,” a reference to Shiva as worshipped by the divine hero-king Rama.

Tradition says that Dasimayya was performing intense ascetic practices in a jungle when Shiva appeared to him and told him to stop punishing his body. Shiva urged him instead to work in the world. Dasimayya renounced his extreme practices and took up the trade of a weaver.

Like most Virasaivas that followed him, this gentle saint taught a life of complete non-violence, even teaching local hunting tribes to renounce meat and, instead, provide for themselves through pressing and selling olive oil.

Dasimayya became a famous teacher, eventually giving initiation to the wife of the local king, who was a Jain. Dasimayya engaged in several debates with the powerful Jain community and, through a series of miraculous events, managed to convert large numbers to the worship of his loving vision of Shiva as the eternal God.

More poetry by Devara Dasimayya

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Devara Dasimayya – To the utterly at-one with Siva”

  1. Sylviaon 08 Jun 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Thanks for this poem Ivan. I really love it. And need reminding of its message. In fact, I like it so much that a print out of this poem it is still on my fridge from last time you sent it out! I think that must have been end of 2008, because I remember my circumstance at the time. My fridge copy is looking a bit worse for wear but the message is fresh as ever and completely unaffected by the passing of time….love

  2. Ram Krishna Singhon 08 Jun 2012 at 10:30 pm

    “His front yard/ is the true Benares”: As someone born and brought up in Benares, I know the significance of the city. The translator should have used “Kashi” in place of Benares to be mythically more relevant, and perhaps, true to the spirit of the original.
    Ramanujan was a great scholar and poet,and I should not question his choice of Benares, but I strongly feel, “kashi” should have been preferred.

    –Professor R.K. Singh

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