Oct 16 2020
You are my true self, O Lord
English version by Ivan M. Granger
You are my true self, O Lord.
My pure awareness is your consort.
My breath, my body are your handmaids.
I am your holy ground.
My every action is an offering to you.
My rest is my melting into you.
Every step I take circles you.
Every word I speak is a song for you.
Whatever work I do, that work is worship of you,
O Fountain of Bliss!
— from This Dance of Bliss: Ecstatic Poetry from Around the World, Edited by Ivan M. Granger
/ Image by DieselDemon /
I feel like I should say something about this poem by the great Adi Shankara, but I’m not feeling especially verbal this morning. Sometimes it’s best for me to just step aside and let the poem speak for itself. Enjoy!
And be well.
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Shankara (or Sankara, often referred to reverently as Adi Shankara or Shankaracharya) is a central figure within Advaita Vedanta (nondualist Hinduism). The name Shankara is an epithet associated with the god Shiva — “giver of joy.” Adi Shankara was an important philosopher, sage, holy man, and poet who, more than any other figure, unified the nondualist teachings into an essential philosophical tradition within Hinduism.
Shankara was born in the Kerala region of India. His father died while he was still young, and he was raised by his mother. He showed early brilliance in his study of the Vedas and other sacred texts and by the age of 8 he left home to seek a guru and receive initiation into sannyasa, wishing to renounce the world and live a monastic life.
The young monk grew into a gifted scholar and holy man. He traveled extensively, engaging in philosophical debates, spreading the essential truths of the nondual nature of reality.
Shankara is also remembered for reorganizing monastic structures within Hinduism, and many monastic lineages trace their roots back to Adi Shankaracharya as their founder.