Visions of the Beyond in Sri Chinmoy's Poetry

Sri Chinmoy's poetry offers rare glimpses into a realm of spiritual consciousness which is often considered inexpressible.

When it comes to the rare heights of spiritual consciousness, many of the great spiritual teachers conclude that their experiences are indescribable, being beyond the understanding of the human mind. "That which can be spoken about is not the real Tao" - these sentiments are common in spiritual writings. However, In some of Sri Chinmoy's poetry, we see glimpses of this inner realm which is the goal of all meditation.

One of Sri Chinmoy's most famous poems, The Absolute, begins with the lines:

No mind, no form, I only exist;
Now ceased all will and thought;

The cessation of thought is a characteristic of deep meditation. Beyond that is the complete transcendence of the mind altogether. The freedom from any kind of form or conceptual idea was the goal of the jnana yogis, who followed the path of discrimination by repeating "not this, not that" until they they merged with the infinite Brahman. Life is said to continue from birth to birth because of our desires, ambitions and attachments. When these come to end, we merge back into our source and lose the feeling of the little "I". In these first two lines Sri Chinmoy describes what the experience is not, he then goes on to describe the experience itself:

A realm of Bliss bare, ultimate;
Beyond both knower and known.

Here we get a sense of a place beyond all our experience which is flooded with heavenly joy. There is no feeling of the self left and no sense of something being experienced. The person who is having the experience has merged with the universal consciousness. Such a state is known as samadhi. When Sri Ramakrishna was asked to describe it, he would say "A salt doll went to measure the depth of the ocean". Of course, the doll would dissolve completely so could not bring back an answer. Images of vastness, immense freedom and release from earthly suffering are found frequently in Sri Chinmoy's poetry, such as in Revelation:

Above the toil of life my soul
Is a Bird of Fire winging the Infinite

Sri Chinmoy often uses the image of a bird to symbolize the soul, perhaps because of the feeling of immense freedom which it evokes. We also see here the stark contrast between an everyday sphere of work and struggle and the vast expanse of spiritual liberation. Another image which we see often in Sri Chinmoy's poetry is that of silence and stillness, captured beautifully here in the The Absolute:

My spirit aware of all the heights,
I am mute in the core of the Sun.
I barter nothing with time and deeds;
My cosmic play is done.

In Hindu scriptures the cosmic play is said to begin when there is an imbalance in the modes of consciousness, resulting in a manifestation on the physical plane. When that balance is restored once more all cause and effect ceases and the soul returns to infinite peace.