At the Lotus Feet of The Mother
1. THE MOTHERAn endless birth from mute eternity
Within thy Bosom dawns at thy Will supreme.
Thy blissful touch on all the limbs of earth
Bestows a thrill of joy, unknown, extreme.
In Thee is hushed, O Mother!
our empty cry.
We are thy stoic sons of the fire-pure way,
Firm-poised in dreadful hours of earth’s blind drag;
No more the harrow of doom shadows our day.
Proceedest Thou across the path of Night
With thy Flame-white Love to change its face and fate.
Thou art the matchless fruit of thy cosmos’ seed;
In Thee the key of Transformation’s gate.
2. SRI AUROBINDOThy vast of bliss enfolds our mortal sheaths,
Thy smile from eternity unlids our eyes.
the Flame that hymns of creation new,
Thy Blaze transmutes our poison-paradise.
Who dares to love thy diamond Heart of love?
Lover of the self-same stupendous Soul —
Within, without a world of nectar’s flood
Sporting with thy ever-unhorizoned whole.
Out of a marvel process of time-toil
Thy gnostic Sun flowers in the gloom of earth.
The clay is not a dream, a chimera’s mist —
In Thee she shall awake to golden birth.
3. MAHESHWARIO Height beyond the heights,
O Deep beyond the deeps, Thou art still!
Mother of Light supreme!
We feel not thy flaming breath of Will.
To raze our million lies,
To reveal the Spirit’s cosmic task
Thy vast apocalypse
In secret dwells in our nature’s dusk.
O Queen of zenith unseen!
The Play of Death within Thee ends.
The Sun, thy golden child,
Upon the world’s nakedness descends.
4. MAHAKALIO Mother-Fire!
thy storm-eyed ken
Tortures my eyeless fate.
Before me shine all wonder-ways
Of thy immortal Gate.
The face of rapture thy stroke unveils.
Matchless for ever Thou art
To make us reach the Peak unknown,
The One’s all-embracing Heart.
The fount of Power at thy Feet abides.
Thy cosmic dance of Noon
Throws fast on earth the nectar-floods
Of snow-white fire-pure Moon.
5. MAHALAKSHMIMother of rapture, Thee we seize!
Our eyes of tears now smile in Thee.
To quench our thirst thy ruby Love,
Thy Power we clasp from thy silence-sea.
So near art Thou, O Mother Dawn!
In bliss to answer our moon-white call.
A world of hush sublime is thy Dream.
In Thee alone the golden All.
Before Thee quivers the battle of Night.
Thy Grace supreme is Nature’s Soul.
In us Thou hast sown the immortal seeds;
Thy joy shall flood our triumph’s goal.
6. MAHASARASWATIThy Heart of music-Fire consumes our drowse,
Nowhere our journey ends.
Thy patience unknown all souls must learn from Thee
To march through immortal lands.
We hurt thy Heart’s arabesque supreme of bliss.
Ever unplumbed is thy Ruth.
Our sheaths’ afflicted roots imbibe thy Grace;
In Thee the tapestry of Truth.
All worlds with ignorance blind immerse in Thy Light,
O Queen of perfection-sea!
Thy birth of Lore supreme within us bursts
And makes us eternal, free.
7. THE MASTER(December 5, 1950)
Today, today beholds the world entire
The snow-trance of the deathless Sovereign.
His fire-winged Will clasps firm the withes of dust;
No more the ignorance-chain.
A blazing hope that knows not how to cease
Now flies through earth’s sky-breast.
He was, He is, and shall be; nowhere his end,
And He, the brooding Nest
Of teeming vast and immortality.
Our nature’s creative flow
To Him now leaps with heart immaculate.
The pinnacled Guide and Glow
Is He, and He the sacrifice sublime.
The Gnostic Sun from Him
Bursts forth, the golden All floods the Mother’s core
Of hyaline immortal Dream.
8. THE MASTER(December 9, 1950)
With folly futile thy spirit’s core to buy
We have come, O Master sweet!
The Mother with Pole-Star-Eye commands our hearts
The ignorance-dream to quit.
The armoured breasts of the Gods we all behold
Around thy citadel-deeps.
Night and Death now weep in awe unknown
Before thy Apocalypse.
The born and unborn drink deep from Thee the Grace,
O Fountain of all!
The hurtful roar of ignorance stark is hushed
With all its venom-gall.
The sky, the sun and moon, the host of stars
Announce thy victory vast,
Thy trance of fire broods immortality
Upon the aspiring dust.
9. THE FLAME ALTAR OF SRI AUROBINDOA sun-vast silence, freedom of Void supreme
Around the triumphant Altar of our heart’s king.
His Will bodied, unbodied ever shall last,
Time but a child in his all-embracing Wing.
The far-off rapture and wisdom here we meet;
The Breath of life burns pure within this Shrine.
Here eyeless errors reach the unflickering Fire,
His Immortality, the Boon divine.
On earth obscure to fulfil His mission sublime
The riddles of all the contraries abide.
All worlds are His, He the creation vast
And He our goal, the one unfailing Guide.
The flame-haven, a dawn of deathless birth,
To summit vast a flight of steps from earth.
10. THE ABSOLUTE1No mind, no form, I only exist;
Now ceased all will and thought.
The final end of Nature’s dance,
I am It whom I have sought.
A realm of bliss bare, ultimate;
Beyond both knower and known;
A rest immense I enjoy at last;
I face the One alone.
I have crossed the secret ways of life,
I have become God-soul.
The Truth immutable is revealed;
I am the way, the goal.
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.
FLW 10,3. In later editions of this poem, lines 2 and 4 of the third paragraph are published in a different form.↩
11. MASTER! TO THEE I BOW2Thy Feet of immortal lustre are all my world,
My life, a worship of Thy Form divine,
My haven, the fulness of Thy desire unfurled,
Extinction of earth’s will in Thee is mine.
Devoutness of my heart Thy Bounty’s rays,
The splendour of Thy Compass is my might,
The ken of Thine is my liberation’s ways,
Blessings of Thee on me Thy Acceptance-light.
My realm, Thy world unveiled of supernal Play,
Mine is the whole of Thy eternal swing,
My loneliness is the fire-touch of Thy ray,
And that alone the door unclosed to Thee, King!
The Form of my form is Thy Apocalypse,
The Fountain of my thoughts is Thy Will’s Sun,
Existence thine my song’s citadel-deeps,
My bow the withdrawal of “I”, and union.
FLW 11. (Translated from Sahana Devi's Bengali poem.)↩
12. THE MOTHER OF THE ETERNAL DAWN(At the Balcony)
The aspiration-fire in our breast abides
To seize, O Mother!
thy eyes’ ascending surge.
In vain ends not our longing’s secret urge;
In silence we wait to see where thy Spirit hides.
To Thee is known our nature’s hurrying course;
Our mortal sight pines for thy deathless Will.
Mother, turn faster our evolving wheel,
This truth we know — thy boundless Love, thy Force.
With groping mind for guide, we can but fall;
Through infinite pangs we come to Thee at last.
With nectared bliss our heart’s long thirst is past.
Yet vagrant thoughts make us a brittle doll.
O golden Fount of All!
Thy Dawn sublime
Shall lead all souls beyond the clutch of Time.
13. THE ETERNAL PLAYER(At the Tennis Court by the beach)
I am Thy offspring blue, god of the sea;
With my descending surge I bow to Thee,
And feel, O Player eternal!
thy Game divine
Blessing the human souls that round Thee shine.
Each “stroke” of Thine awakes a swift-eyed rose
Of surrender-light to hush our earth-billows
Of time-built ignorance, O mighty Power!
Thy “service” bestows on dust an immortal shower.
Thy golden Hand’s outward and inward “swings”
Show in thy Body how Spirit’s Creation springs.
14. THE MOTHER OF THE DYNAMIC POWER(In Athletics)
Thy Grace the warrior-sparks of Noon invoke,
Our fateful race awaits the starter’s stroke.
Thy Bounty sweet beyond our gaze abides;
Who will clasp first the goal thy Law decides?
From Thee we learn, in thy play divine our task.
Vanished in awe our body’s torpid mask.
To shun the world we saw not the light of day,
But to catch in our body’s line thy Vision’s Ray.
15. THE MOTHER OF WAR-GODS(March Past)
“Quick march, quick now within
To change the fate of mortal life.
In you abides the Light
That pierces ignorant human strife.
A deathless birth divine
Shall bare your hidden Sun-bright heart.
Sole hope of the earth are you.
Ere long your mystic journey start!”
16. THE MOTHER OF THE ZENITH CLIFF(At the Concentration)
We all must learn, O Mother, to look within,
And hear in bliss thy high Command of peace.
Thou art our Fount, thy Wings we all must seize;
Thy Power of golden shower tears our screen.
Thy giant Work divine ever goes on.
In us art Thou to fulfil our choice sublime.
Thy Grace awakes our heart thy Height to climb,
To devour thy ecstasy’s endless emerald Dawn.
Thy Heart-Beat of fire we feel in our journey’s start.
Rapture within our core, below, above.
The blind Alone can try to measure thy Love.
To Thee now bows the Titan’s giant heart.
Through thy Bosom vast runs fast the eternal OM;
Thou art, of all the gods, the mystic Home.
17. THE MOTHER OF THE IMMORTAL BOON(At the Distribution)
I dare not clasp thy Feet of lotus-light;
Thy Truth-bliss bursts upon my nature’s night.
The more I offer, the nearer Thee I find.
Now hushed in awe are the billows of my mind.
In me I find thy volcano bomb of Noon.
O Mother Supreme!
with thy boundless peerless Boon
Thy Spirit far-winging feeds my mind and heart.
A challenge am I to death’s tenebrous dart.
18. WHILE PASSING THROUGH SRI AUROBINDO'S ROOMNo more the tempest howls upon my mind;
Thy emerald shower descends and hugs my soul.
I tear my ire and pride and black despair.
I view the quintessence of the world’s flood-peace
Around thy trance-bound couch majestic, sweet.
Thy august Voice, in each hush-gap, declares,
“O son of the All, in you the Infinite.
I now unveil the truth that of Nectar-Bliss
You all are bloomed, in Bliss you dwell and retire
In her colossal core when your play is done.”
19. HIS EYES OF DIAMOND PEACETo feed the brooding spans with vision-flame
Two Eyes of diamond Peace.
Their moon-gold Love descends in the human heart
Our mortal life to seize,
And change our sombre fate and venomed hours,
Our sorrow’s songs outcast.
No more shall rule the ancient heavy veil,
Our self’s forgotten vast.
Uncovered is the earth’s aspiring soul.
Two Eyes, only two Eyes!
The storm-winged tragedy of ignorance stark
Salutes their immortal Rise.
20. HIS FEET OF THE SPIRIT-BLAZETwo Feet of Thunder
To plumb the abysmal deep,
To build the Day
Over the python sleep
Of eyeless earth.
The Feet of the Spirit-Blaze
Now pierce the masks
Of fate and time-born ways.
In silence they move.
The aspiring souls of clay
Invoke their lights
And ascend to see Heaven’s Play,
To slaughter Death,
And human body’s strife.
Two Feet, wherein
Are roots of immortal Life.
21. IGNORANCE VAST WE HUGOur life abides within;
Our outer sheath is a cloak
Ignorant of truth sublime.
Outside the more we block,
The deeper within we go.
We all are nature’s slaves,
Ignorance vast we hug.
Even death our Spirit braves
in vain for us.
We cry to live in chains
With blind personality.
Before us the sombre main.
22. THOU AND IThy Rapture shines unchanging
Through my heart never still.
I see with my drowsy eyes,
Thou with thy mighty Will.
I pine for fame unknown,
Thou for my freedom vast.
now cease, now cease.
Nought save the One shall last.
23. MY FOEMy foe is none but I.
All future I reap from deeds of mine.
If I receive not aid
From me, no soul will make me shine.
The evil forces lie
Within, around my symbol sheath.
They seize my knowledge-sun,
And tear my mind with dragon teeth.
24. REVELATIONNo more my heart shall sob or grieve.
My days and nights dissolve in God’s own Light.
Above the toil of life my soul
Is a Bird of Fire winging the Infinite.
I have known the One and His secret Play;
And passed beyond the sea of Ignorance-dream.
In tune with Him, I sport and sing,
I own the golden Eye of the Supreme.
Drunk deep of Immortality,
I am the root and boughs of a teeming vast.
My Form I have known, and realised,
The Supreme and I are one — all we outlast.
25. ALTHOUGHAlthough I teach, I am the cap of fools,
Although I love all souls, a fiend am I.
I am not strong yet for the weak I fight;
At will I sell myself and myself I buy.
At every pause my life I contradict.
To me are ever same all truths and lies.
To me the earthly beings and He are one.
We fly in His bosom vast, in us He flies.
26. TO SRI AUROBINDOOur foil in battle of life
Can never be Thy master Choice.
Our triumph truly is thine,
Creation’s King of the adamant Voice!
The pinioned mind of earth
Is wide awake to Thy Decree.
Her breast’s unknown abyss
Harbours Thy immortality.
Our living sheaths and souls
Emblem Thy godhead’s infinite urge
Of almighty Flame and Love.
Who dares to plumb Thee, O Thaumaturge?
Gold fires of bliss and grace
From the earth’s buried heaven arise
To climb Thy nude noon-peak
And Thy Sun-Face beyond surmise.
27. A LITTLEA little joy have I of ceaseless joy,
A little day of timeless day.
Yet knows no bound this empty show of mine;
I march along a goalless way.
a desert within me ever pines,
Do turn it into a song of dawn.
I know not in what hour of evil night
Thou art, my Lord!
from me withdrawn.
Life now must reach Thy Breath of Bliss supreme,
Make Thee the one and only Guide.
Thou art the Bridge between my death and birth;
O let my longings in Thee abide.
28. APOCALYPSEWithin, without the cosmos wide am I;
In joyful sweep I loose forth and draw back all.
A birthless deathless Spirit that moves and is still
Ever abides within to hear my call.
I who create on earth my joys and doles
To fulfil my matchless quest in all my play,
I veil my face of truth with golden hues
And see the serpent night and python day.
A consciousness of bliss I feel in each breath,
I am the self-amorous child of the Sun.
At will I break and build my symbol sheath
And freely enjoy the world’s unshadowed fun.
29. HOPEThou art my Lord!
my golden dream,
Thou art my life in death.
bless me with thy Hope supreme,
Lord of the Eternal Breath!
Agelong the vision of thy sun
For darkness have I sought.
I know the evils I should shun
And quickly bring to nought.
The earth is deaf and blind, my Lord,
Its true goal it denies.
It hears no voice, no heavenly word
From those who seek the skies.
O yet I feel thy kingly Grace
With my feeble mortality —
I shall win at last the Noonward Race,
Plunge in the Nectar Sea.
30. NO EYES HAVE WEThou art the All and beyond the All,
This truth we fail to believe.
Our ego never sees thy Will;
To ignorance vast we cleave.
Revolts of ours defy thy Smile
That leads all souls without
Within to thy Sea of rapture-fire
Where drowns our clay’s blind shout.
31. THE GOLDEN FLUTEA Sea of peace and joy and light
Beyond my reach I know.
In me the storm-tossed weeping night
Finds room to rage and flow.
I cry aloud, but all in vain —
I helpless, the earth unkind!
What soul of might can share my pain?
Death-dart alone I find.
A raft am I on the sea of Time,
My oars are washed away.
How can I hope to reach the Clime
Of God’s eternal Day?
I hear thy golden Flute,
Its notes bring the Summit down.
Now safe am I, O Absolute!
gone night’s stark frown!
32. ALL PRESENCE AM IAlthough I dwell in poverty,
Matchless all joy of mine remains.
Upon my heart his Bounty rains
From His flame-white eternity.
To none I sell my teeming thoughts;
By me my trance is seen alone.
My heart shall never tremble or moan,
All-presence am I, in me no noughts.
33. THE 24TH OF APRILThe snow-trance-ray of the Mother has dawned
Upon my mind of night.
No more can ruin me matter’s frown;
In me her priestess-might
Flames forth with emerald wing-delight
The jaws of the giant inane
Dare not approach my mind and heart
With all their perilous bane.
Through eternal Day I shall now march;
In me the infinite desire.
The Mother’s swiftly gathering Light
Awakes my Spirit’s fire.
34. DREAMThe sky with sun and moon and stars
Leans down today to clasp my soul.
Their boundless love and peace sublime
Lead me to Freedom, snow-capped goal.
I hear the Hymn that bars decay
And makes my bosom ever green
With faith and ardent inmost call,
I have become the Freedom-Sheen.
My bird of dawn is on the wing,
Its wonder-goal within its ken.
The sombre death now weeps in awe
Alone in his secret eyeless den.
35. THE FLAME OF ASPIRATIONThe wings of my longings are undone,
All my desires are hushed.
The flame of aspiration shines —
Smiles now my heart abashed
To feel the Formless in Form divine,
To see nought save the One
That, neither male nor female, yet
Broods ever our Parent-sun.
36. MASTERO Lord of Nature, sovereign Sun of all!
Who, if not Thou, will speak of Thee?
Thy smile of Grace through eternity
Frees all aspiring souls from night’s dumb call.
Thou art the ring
Of the lowest chasm and spanless height.
In Thee they feel their haven bright;
In Thee all beings move and wave and wing.
To see Thy all-transcending mystic Form
No vision have we of golden gaze;
Thou art the Noon of all our days,
The veerless Pilot in our death’s stark storm.
37. STRUGGLE'S GLOOMWith a blank sorrow heavy I am now grown;
Like things eternal changeless stands my woe.
In vain I try to overcome my foe.
O Lord of Love!
make me more dead than stone.
Thy Grace of silent smile I never feel,
The forger of Evil stamps my nights and days.
His call my sleepless body ever obeys.
My heart I annihilate and try to heal.
The dumb earth-waste now burns a hell to my soul.
I fail to fight with its stupendous doom,
My breath is a slave of that unending gloom.
For Light I pine, but find a tenebrous goal.
Smoke-clouds cover my Face of Spirit’s fire;
Naked I move in night’s ignorance deep and dire.
38. IMMORTALITYI feel in all my limbs His boundless Grace;
Within my heart the Truth of life shines white.
The secret heights of God my soul now climbs;
No dole, no sombre pang, no death in my sight.
No mortal days and nights can shake my calm;
A light above sustains my secret soul.
All doubts with grief are banished from my deeps,
My eyes of light perceive my cherished goal.
Though in the world, I am above its woe;
I dwell in an ocean of supreme release.
My mind, a core of the One’s unmeasured thoughts,
The star-vast welkin hugs my Spirit’s peace.
My eternal days are found in speeding time,
I play upon his Flute of rhapsody.
Impossible deeds no more impossible seem,
In birth-chains now shines Immortality.
Introduction to first editionTo introduce a poet to the public is sometimes almost as tempting as to be oneself a bard; especially when the author is a close relation of the introducer and when the former is more gifted than the latter.
Just eleven years ago, one day as I was busy with my students in the Bengali class in our Ashram School, a boy of thirteen was brought to me. I found myself looking for the first time into Chinmoy's intelligent but innocent and simple face. In a couple of years he joined my Sanskrit class, after having been initiated into that language by his eldest brother, Hriday Ranjan, who is a devoted student of the Rig Veda and a lover of poetry.
Within a few days Chinmoy brought me some Bengali poems of his, not in a spirit of display but for correction. I took his manuscript and without his knowledge showed it to the Secretary of our Ashram, Nolini Kanta Gupta, who is a celebrated savant and front-rank writer. It ws returned with the comment, “The boy has merit; encourage him, he will produce even better poetry in the future.” The present book also been seen in manuscript.
In 1946, the poet rendered Sri Aurobindo's Bengali story ‘Kshamar Adarsha’ (Ideal of Forgiveness) into Bengali verses - no less than two hundred lines. Poet Nirod Baran took it to our Master who remarked: “It is a fine piece of poetry. He has capacity. Tell him to continue.” The poem was published in a journal in March 1948, with an appreciative Editorial note.
Somewhere in 1950, while one evening I was all alone, absorbed, in my room, Chinmoy suddenly knocked at my silence, and soon a heap of typed sheets was before my eyes. They were all ‘Prayers’ in English, composed in prose but with a fragrance of genuine poetry.
Since 1953, he has been contributing now and again to ‘Mother India’. I thank its Editor K.D. Sethna, a prominent poet of modern India in English as well as an erudite exponent of Sri Aurobindo-Literature, for his encouragement and advice to the young poet in various ways.
Romen, the author of ‘The Golden Apocalypse’, also deserves my thanks for giving Chinmoy a push on the path of English poetry.
Lastly, a word of thanks to Chinmoy himself for choosing me to write this Introduction. He is too unassuming to ask for appreciation, but when some one suggested my name, he exclaimed: “Oh! I got inspiration from him in my younger days, that continues even now. And who else will appreciate me so affectionately?”
Though perhaps out of place here, yet it is interesting to note that Chinmoy got the Blessings of our Mother and Sri Aurobindo as early as 1933, when he came here for first time as a child of a little above twelve months! May he continue to receive their Grace!
'Flame-Waves' is the maiden work of the author, dedicated to our Mother Divine as a humble offering on his own birthday, on the 27th of August, 1955. The title, of course, indicates the Aspiration in the inner being of the poet, at once wide-spreading and upward-leaping.
Sri Aurobindo International University Centre, Pondicherry,
Notes on first editionFirst Impression — August 1955
Publishers: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Press, Pondicherry